New Buena Vista head cross country coach Colt Slack will have a good mix of youth and experience stepping out on the course when his cross country teams begin the 2016 season this evening in a twighlight meet hosted by Augustana College (S.D.).
Slack, who came to campus a year ago as an assistant coach, takes over for Ryan Schroeder this season and is excited to lead the way.
"BV deserves success, and I want to do my best to make us as good as ever," he says. "People that know me know I hate losing. I want to do anything I can to give us an edge. Our mentality is starting to shift and I'm excited to see the winning mentality evolving."
Overall, his teams will be young, but Slack doesn't view that as a bad thing at all.
"It just means we have alot of talent out there for years to come," he states. "During camp, I've seen the progress from the first day, and everyone is looking good. They've all worked really hard."
Leadership is always keep to a team's success and the first-year coach has been more than pleased with how that has developed on this team.
"We have captains for the first time this year, and they've each done a great job so far," says Slack. "They're doing what they need to do, and they're bringing that extra motivation to the rest of the team."
On the men's side, Slack has the benefit of a few more returners on the roster than the women, and he has been impressed with how they have been grooming the underclassmen and showing them what it takes to be successful here at the collegiate level.
In particular, Slack has been impressed thus far by freshman Alex Loerts, but says in general, each newcomer has a ton of potential and bring alot to the table.
"They're all starting to really step it up, and it won't be long before you start seeing those results," he adds.
Puls was the consistent top finisher on the women's side as a freshman in 2015, and Slack says that should be more of the same again this year.
"She's really taking that leadership role and displaying it well during practice. We have a motto of 'Be Better Than Yesterday' and I think our captains are extremely focused and ensuring that we keep that going all season long."
Following today's opener, the team travels to Nebraska Wesleyan for its annual Invite on September 17 before hosting the BVU Invite a week later. The Beavers also get to play host to this year's IIAC Championships on October 29.
"It's always nice when you get to run a big event like that on your home course," says Slack. "We want to defend our home course. It's a huge advantage when you have the alumni, community and campus support coming out and cheering you on. It really brings a whole different level of excitement."
Tonight's Augustana Twighlight is scheduled to begin at 8:00pm.