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The Mountaineer distance squad is ready to run in the 2016-17 indoor season.
Courtesy: Sun Belt Conference
Track Preview: Distance
Courtesy: Appalachian State Sports Information
Release: Saturday 11/26/2016 (ET)
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Leading up the start of the indoor track season, appstatesports.com will preview each coach and their athletes. Today, we wrap up the week by taking an inside look at the Mountaineer distance runners.

Coach Curcio’s Notes

“The ladies are particularly excited about seeing how their fall cross country season will affect their racing,” said coach Michael Curcio. “There were a lot of personal bests, and they showed consistency through the fall. That tends to translate to consistency in the spring semester. The men are looking forward to the track season as well. There are a number of men who thrive off of more interval training and less volume. The track season favors a number of our men’s distance and middle distance athletes.”

Preparing for the Season

The Mountaineer distance squad is coming off of a great cross country season where the women grabbed the 2016 Sun Belt Cross Country Championship and finished 19th at regionals and the men took home fourth place at the conference championship and also landed in 19th at the Southeast Regional Championships.

To prepare for the quick turnaround for the indoor season, the men and women will take 7-10 days off and start a build up phase through the holidays. When the team returns for the new year, the runners will endure more interval training and get ready to mix in some races.

The Long Distance Bunch

Appalachian returns a deep squad of distance runners on both the men’s and women’s team. For the ladies, the 2016 Sun Belt Most Outstanding Female Tristin Van Ord will lead the charge in long distance. Van Ord won four Sun Belt championships last year including the 3,000-meter and the 5,000-meter crown for indoors and the 5,000-meter and the 10,000-meter title for outdoors. The Chapel Hill native went on to represent the Black and Gold at the NCAA East Preliminaries in the 10,000-meter run. Joining Van Ord this year will be a stacked group of women that include Torre Moser, Emily Fedders, Natalie Kile, Hana Ratcliffe, Phylissa Greeley and Kerry Leonard who are all coming off of spectacular cross country showings that will translate well into the track season.

Seniors Chris Anderson and Andrew Vandenberg will spearhead the men’s distance group for the 2016-17 track season. Anderson finished 14th at the 2016 Sun Belt Cross Country Championships and earned third-team All-conference honors. At last year’s indoor conference meet, Anderson finished ninth in the 5,000 meters and seventh in the 3,000 meters. Vandenberg landed in 20th at the cross country championships and earned Sun Belt Runner of the Week honors on Sept. 28.

Curcio welcomes a group of talented distance runners that include Grace Brooks, Kayla Hall, Natalie Richardson, Molly Pusateri, Megan Scannell, Ellen Spencer, Sarah Venable, Lawson Benfield, Michael Flanagan, Ian Foley and Nelson Russ. All of the newcomers have already gained some experience in the cross country season and are ready to shock the Sun Belt in February.

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