The Seton Hall men’s and women’s cross country teams have enjoyed quality seasons, as one has been paced by a well-versed senior peaking at the right time and the other has been led by a freshman who consistently reaches podium finishes.
The former, Jarod Moser, lacked the confidence to do well in races earlier on in his career. Head coach John Moon saw something him that changed his in-race mentality.
“Coming into my sophomore year, I was about the eighth man on the team,” Moser said. “Coach kept telling me ‘You’re finishing first in these workouts, it’s all mental’. He kept saying this over and over again. It wasn’t until I got first on the team in my first race and after that it was first and second most of the time. I had to live what he was actually saying, that was the biggest impact for me.”
Moser’s impact on the roster was felt as an upperclassman, racing in every single meet for the second half of his career, as opposed to four as a feshman year and seven as a sophomore.
Emma Newgarden’s path to success was strikingly different than Moser’s but not easy regardless. Newgarden was valedictorian of her high school, a current Seton Hall Honors student and is, rightfully, not the fastest runner on the team. Her incredible stamina, though, has guided her to high finishes, which makes her favor longer distances unlike the maximum of 3,000 meters she ran in high school, which is nothing compared to the 10,000-meter race she won at the Osprey Open last month.
“I really do like longer distances,” Newgarden said. “It’s weird because my coaches in high school used to say that they thought I was ‘real’ distance runner which runs longer than the middle distance 3,000s. The more I do longer and longer races, I feel better running.”
Women’s cross country has a lot to look forward to in its future, as most of its top finishers underclassman, and it only loses two seniors opposed to the speculated four freshman coming in.
“I think I have gotten more used to the hectic schedule of going to practice than having to go to Honors classes,” said Newgarden. “The girls that were already here kept making me stronger, too. Later in the season, I will definitely focus on speed more because that is where I need to improve; I can go the distance but having that energy or quickness is where I struggle.”
Moser recently finished raced in the Osprey Open at Stockton University and finished first place in the men’s 5000-meter race, albeit against lesser competition than the typical Div. I schools that the Pirates usually race against. While the Texas native’s last race is behind him, Moser remains grateful and optimistic about the future of men’s cross country.
“When you wake up together at the same time every day, when you struggle together and eat together, you really do build that bond and they will be lifelong relationships,” Moser said. “Coach Moon has become like a second father to me and I can’t thank him enough.”
Evando Thompson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Thompsev.