After running 100 miles a week all summer, sophomore Tyler Shipley leads  Cross Country into the fall season.

While Shipley shines, the young team transitions into a new season with limited experience, but solid determination.

“As a team we are so young with six freshmen,” said Shipley. “Hopefully we will be a lot better at the end.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams are heavily dominated by freshmen.

Shipley is one of two returners setting the example for six newcomers on the men’s team.

The women have a small team of runners with sophomore or freshmen eligibility besides junior Rachel Schreiber.

But since Schreiber was accepted to Pacific’s College of Optometry, she said she is unsure if she will have the time to commit to the team this season.

“The work load is so much more,” said Schreiber.

“I want to be a part of the team. I just don’t know if I’ll have time.”

The adjustment from high school Cross Country to college competition is in the works for the Boxers.

“I think this is the most talented group Pacific has seen, the newcomers all ran pretty fast in high school,” said Shipley.

The men’s team has competed in two invitationals, the Puget Sound Invitational where they came in second of four teams and the Sundodger Invitational where they came in 12th of 18 teams.

Shipley has had a stellar start to the season.

He covered the 8,000-meter course of the Puget Sound Invitational in 26:17, claiming victory. He led his team to second place with his performance.

The meet earned Shipley the first Northwest Conference Cross Country Student-Athlete of the Week Award, making him the first honoree of 2013.

A week later, Shipley earned a second honor for his performance at the Sundodger Invitational at the University of Washington. He was honored Cross Country Student-Athlete again.

The Invitational featured non-Division I runners.

Shipley finished third in the 8,000-meter run, setting a personal record with his time while also claiming the second fastest time in school history at that distance.

“It’s always nice to get recognition,” Shipley said modestly.

The teams are looking to the future of this season as they get their footing.

“We need to be competitive at regional’s and conference. Everything else is practice for that,” said sophomore Sydney Davis.

And for the women’s team, Davis has already seen improvements.

“The girls are starting to shave time off,” she said.

“Michelle Kester shaved off three minutes. Everyone’s getting a feel of what it takes to be competitive in college.”

The women’s team came in third of three at the Puget Sound Invitational and 15th of 17 teams at the Sundodger Invitational.

The goals for both the teams are to stay consistent in performance and to stay healthy.

Given that the women’s team is so small, “there’s not much room for error,” said Davis.

“I’m trying to take the tactics of the people who graduated. Staying positive, good work outs and good training days,” she said.

For the men’s team Shipley hopes to lead by example and break some records along the way.

“I want to be first,” said Shipley.

The next meet for the Boxers is the Northwest Classic at noon on September 20 at Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore.

“We don’t want to give up,” said Davis. “We race hard and have mental toughness that will carry us through the season,” said Davis.

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