Castleton, Vt. – The Spartans enter the 2013 season with a feeling that they have something to prove. After being picked fifth in the North Atlantic Conference preseason poll, the squad is ready to turn some heads.
Despite losing All-Conference First-Teamer Nohea King, the Spartans could be the dark horse of the NAC this year, with some familiar faces returning to the squad and some unexpected contributors coming out of the woodwork.
Seniors Isaac French and Steve Hagemann rejoin the roster after taking a year off. In 2010, French was selected as a member of the All-Conference First Team while Hagemann was selected to the All-Conference Second Team. The pair will likely pace the Spartans this season. Senior Nick Tubolino also joins the squad this year after three years on the football team. In his first race, Tubolino finished as the Spartans' third finisher.
Castleton returns five members of last year's team as well, including sophomore Kevin Lawliss who finished as the Spartans' second runner in a pair of events last season. Matthew Woodward will look to boost his performance from last year. He finished fifth in the Spartans' last race.
Freshman Jonah Lavigne is poised to make an impact in his first year on the roster. In his debut, Lavigne finished fourth for the Spartans, twelfth overall, marking the highest finish for any Spartan freshman.
Head coach John Klein believes that the squad is motivated and will make a strong showing this year, "Being underestimated can have it's benefits and it is my belief that no one should take this team lightly. We have a mix of strong senior leadership, motivated sophomores, juniors who showed promise last year and some excellent newcomers."
The Spartans will host the Castleton Invitational on Sept. 7 on their newly refurbished cross country trails. The home team won the event last year, and will look to repeat.