2017 Men's Cross Country Season Preview

Senior captain Kevin Serrao and his teammates open their season at the Vermont Tech Invitational on September 9.
Senior captain Kevin Serrao and his teammates open their season at the Vermont Tech Invitational on September 9.

The Middlebury men's cross country team features a mixture of seasoned veterans along with talented newcomers in 2017. Following a third-place effort last fall at the NESCAC Championships and a 26th-place finish during the NCAA Championship meet, the squad looks to improve its finish this year at the national event just outside of Chicago.

Under the guidance of seventh-year head coach Nicole Wilkerson, Middlebury brings back a deep squad this fall filled with plenty of race experience. Four of the team's top-seven runners return to the lineup, providing a promising future for the Panthers. The men's squad is ranked for the third-consecutive time in the Division III preseason poll at No. 19.

Lost due to graduation were an all-region performer along with two four-year contributors in the lineup. Despite the absence of that particular trio, Wilkerson is thrilled for the 2017 season to begin. This year's edition of the roster features a squad bolstered with experience to go along with an influx of youth.

Leading this group will be senior captains Ascencion Aispuro and Kevin Serrao along with juniors Connor Evans, Miles Meijer and Harrison Knowlton. Aispuro clocked an 18th-place time at the NCAA regional race and finished among the upper tier during the NCAA Championship. Serrao finished 46th at the NCAA regional meet and recorded points at the NCAA competition in Kentucky, while Evans was 39th at the regional meet and was a consistent point scorer throughout the season.

Meijer had a solid sophomore season for the Panthers, providing a solid presence in the lineup during the national meet, while Knowlton adds a seasoned veteran both on and off the course.

Others in the mix for scoring spots who battled injuries much of last season are junior Jonathan Perlman and sophomore Henry Fleming to go along with a talented class of first-year runners.

The Panthers will begin their season when they travel to eastern Vermont to take part in the Vermont Tech Invitational on September 9. They will host the annual Aldrich Invitational one week later on September 16, while the Panthers will entertain teams from the state during the Vermont State Meet on September 30. The 2017 NESCAC Championship will be hosted on October 28 by Bates, while the NCAA Championship meet will be held in Illinois at the Principia North Farm Course on November 11.