The Pointers Men’s Cross-
Country team is off to another solid
start under the guidance of Head
Coach Rick Witt.
The Pointers had a great season
last year but fell just short of making
it to Nationals. After a strong 2012
performance, senior Dan Sullivan is
looking to make the most of his final
year. Sullivan led the Pointers last
year and has even bigger goals for the
Sullivan finished 24th at the
Midwest Regionals last year and is
raising his expectations not only for
himself, but for the team as well.
“I definitely want to be an All-
American and I want the team to be
in Nationals,” Sullivan said.
James Heroux is also in his senior
year and, like Sullivan, Heroux wants
the Pointers back in Nationals. The
last time Stevens Point made it to
Nationals was in 2010 when they
finished sixth overall in the Division
For Heroux, he is facing the
pressure of becoming the top-tier
runner for the team.
“The big challenge is being one
of those top three or four guys onthe team consistently,” Heroux said.
“Running is the definition of you get
out what you get in.”
With the leaders focused on
bringing the team to Nationals, the
underclassmen have stepped up in a
number of ways.
With the impressive surge of
sophomore Alex Gonzales, Witt has
been glad to see the younger athletes
take advantage of the opportunities.
“He’s a young guy that has
made a big step forward. He’s only
a sophomore and he has made some
big steps,” Witt said.
Gonzales led the Pointers at the
Madison Kiwanis Cross Country
Invitational, the first invite of the
Gonzales worked hard over the
summer and found his groove. He
has also been encouraging his team
“We’ve been pushing each other
and motivating each other. When
we’re running in packs, we do not
let go because we’re trying to get that
race feel,” Gonzales said.
Witt is entering his 36th season
as the Head Coach of the Cross-
Country team. Recognized nationally
for his success throughout his
coaching career, Witt gave this as his
description of cross-country:
“Distance running is a very
unique sport. You have to be able to
handle feeling bad for a long time,”
Witt said. “Cross-country running is
about becoming comfortable, being
“You have to get to where feeling
bad, you get used to it. That comes
from work. That’s where training,
learning, and that type of thing
come into play. That makes a huge
difference,” Witt said.
With many years of coaching
experience under his belt, Witt is
encouraging his team to push as hard
as they can this season.
“My motivation is to challenge
these guys and giving them a realistic
expectation of what I think they are
being able to accomplish,” Witt said.
What makes Witt a unique coach
is his ability to develop his runners
by enforcing the mental part of cross-
“I think one of my strongest suits
as a coach is to be able to recognize
what I think your abilities are over
time and then convincing you that
you’re capable of achieving this level
of expectation,” Witt said.
The impact Witt has made among
his athletes does not go unnoticed.
“He’s done everything. He’s a genius
coach, so I listen to whatever he tellsme,” Sullivan said.
There has also been influence on the younger athletes. “He’s
motivating me to keep going and
pushing myself to the next level. He’s
going to tell us if we suck or if we’re
doing well,” Gonzales said.
The Pointers are looking to
capitalize on last year through the
experience of their leaders and the
younger teammates who are still
adapting to the college level of cross-
country. This makes the Pointers a
very well balanced team not only in
the present, but also the future.
Every invitational on the Pointers
schedule is a challenge, as the
Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic
Conference is arguably the toughest
in the nation.
“I will tell you this is the strongest
conference in cross-country. We’re
ranked in the top 20, but ranked sixth
in the WIAC Conference,” Witt said.
“Every time we go to a meet, we’re
running against a top 20 team in the
This season, the Pointers will
prove how capable the team is at
handling their conference.
The Pointers are preparing for the
58th annual Notre Dame Invitational,
taking place Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. in
South Bend, Indiana.