With the cross country season starting soon, Elon University’s new cross country head coach wants to elevate the program to places it hasn’t gone before.
On July 13, Athletic Director Dave Blank announced Kevin Jermyn would take the helm of the cross country program as head coach. And since then, Jermyn has been thinking about his plan for the upcoming year.
“I wouldn’t lie to you ... the goal is seriously to see if we can get our women to the national championships in cross country,” Jermyn said. “Only thing that you probably don’t know is how quickly that is going to happen.
“One of the things I’m most excited about is doing things that haven’t been done yet. I think the previous coaches here have done a really nice job making the program systematically better and better and better and providing better experiences for the student athletes.”
A former Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year, Jermyn looks to bring his skill set to Elon and help the team succeed.
“I feel good in my skill set to be able to develop people to get to that level,” Jermyn said. “I’m pretty used to coaching a lot of runners that have competed at high levels that bring some accolades or baggage with them.”
One runner on the Elon men’s team has been racking up the accolades. Junior Nick Ciolkowski is the two-time reigning Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) individual champion, but nothing is slowing him down from capturing a third title in front of a home crowd.
After the home opener on Sept.2, the cross country teams have a tough schedule this fall, including some high-level invitationals. The Phoenix will be at the Paul Short Run at the end of September and the NCAA Pre-National meet in the middle of October. Later in the month of October, Elon will host the CAA cross country championships for the first time on Saturday, Oct. 28. And while the familiarity of the course is something different to him, he’s not complaining.
“I’ve never been at a school that has had it’s own cross country course, so I’m thrilled to have our home course and be able to host meets — especially the championship,” he said.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t get a little more amped up for the championship races,” Jermyn said. “Looking at conference, regionals and at the NCAA finals. I coach to dream big and chase big dreams. I want people thinking about the NCAA finals.”
Jermyn said he is confident in Nick and the rest of his team to reach the NCAA finals, but he wants to accomplish something smaller first.
“[The men’s team] is excited to try and move up from third to second [in the CAA]. It might sound like a small jump, but it would be a pretty big jump since they’ve been pretty static for the past couple of years,” he said. “I think our men’s team is more excited — or at least they conveyed in me — they seem to be a little more charged up, rejuvenated and have a higher level of passion than before.”
“The team has great leadership, so that is making the transition for me that much easier,”Jermyn said. “Every great team that I havebeen on had great leaders. I know I can’t do this without great leaders, so I feel blessed to have the upperclassmen on the team and they have that passion and interest to give to others.”
Jermyn and the Elon cross country teams look to conquer their goals Sept. 2. For the men, the goal is simple — bump up from third to second in the conference. For the women, Jermyn said he is confident and believes they can capture Elon’s first CAA championship.