The Cross Country team has just wrapped up a successful season highlighted by standouts freshman Duwon Terrell and transfer junior Nicole Burlinson blowing away the record books and the competition at this years’ Mountain East Conference (MEC) meet.
Burlinson is the first outright conference champion in the history of Notre Dame and the first Falcon to be all-region and athlete of the year. Terrell is the first freshman in the history of the college to make the all-conference team for the MEC on the men’s side.
“Keep this in mind, he was an 800 meter runner in high school,” said XC coach Ralph White of Terrell. “That says a lot about him to rise up and make the transition to running miles on end and still be good.
According to White, Terrell had two “great” teammates in Austin Lewis and Noah Lake who “push him and bring him along.”
On the women’s side, the coach called Burlinson “the class of the conference.”
“She was really just head and shoulders above everyone else,” White said.
Burlinson also is a two-time All-American. And the coach is “really proud” the overall average team GPA is 3.5.
“And a lot of them had higher than that,” he said.
Even after the year Burlinson and Terrell had, the coach believes the best is yet to come from these and future Falcons.
While spearheaded by the two award-winning runners, 14 of the current 15 members of the men’s cross country team and all 10 women runners will be returning next year. Out of the 24 returning team members, 19 are freshman now.
And the new freshmen coming in for next year may be just as good if not better than those on the team this season, according to the coach.
“We are having a very good recruiting year, so depth shouldn’t be an issue next year,” White said. “I think we have a great core to build around and having great runners like Duwon and Nicole brings a lot of attention to the school.”
They are classy and they raly are student-athletes. I’m thrilled all our kids work hard and are buying into the system. It shows that hard work really does pay off and I expect big things from them. I think the best has yet to come. ”
White not only has big expectations for the cross country squad next season but also for the track team next semester.
He predicts six or eight records could be broken by the men’s team while eight or nine records could be bested by one member of the women’s team.
“I think you’ll see records fall,” the coach said. “I think what this team learned was how to compete and perform in big time meets.”
And that experience should translate to the track.
“I think we made a lot of steps in the right direction. There has been a lot of success,” White said. “There has been tremendous improvement, and you’ll see that meet after meet.”