With a new school year comes a new season, and the men’s cross country team members are showing a greater commitment to one another.

The men’s team had a historic 2016 season all around. At the beginning of the season, the team reached its highest region ranking from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in 11 years.

In the South Central Region, the men’s team started in eighth, but soon moved up to seventh on the list.

Kyle Denomme, junior, said even with the success the team had last season, there’s no pressure for the upcoming year.

“We’re not going too far ahead, just going day by day,” Denomme said. “I’d say we’re an underdog with potential for great success.”

Finishing the season strong is what was expected from the team, and they achieved just that.

At the 2016 Sun Belt Conference Championships, the men finished third as a team. It was the best finish in the program’s history since joining the conference in 2013.

Along with placing as a team, three Bobcats finished in the top 10, including sophomore Joseph Meade.

Meade said he has worked hard all summer to be at his best when the season starts.

“I’ve been pretty dedicated this summer,” Meade said. “Not missing a mile and making sure my diet is strong to be the best I can be this season.”

Along with working together as a team, Meade has personal goals of his own to reach this season.

Meade said his commitment to the team has helped him become a better individual.

“My biggest individual goal is to make it to the national level,” Meade said. “I feel I have the talent and coaching to get me there.”

Eating healthy and running every day is what the team did all summer, but Denomme practiced other ways to become mentally stronger.

“I believed,” Denomme said. “The mentality coach Muntefering set out for us this season was to believe in ourselves each and every day. If you can believe that your everyday training will be a success, this year will unfold just the way we all want it to.”

There are 12 individuals who make up the men’s cross country team.

The men’s team members have considered themselves a family for years. Without a strong commitment to one another, the connection falls apart.

“We put a huge emphasis on family and being a close-knit team,” Denomme said. “We all hangout 24/7 and know everything about one another. The way to have the most success is to be able to know your teammates as best as possible because if you know them well, it makes it easier to communicate.”

Being a family is important to everyone, and they’ve each grown together in their own ways.

Meade said being together has pushed everyone to be at their best every day.

“Most of the group came in together and we’ve all grown together,” Meade said. “We have each other’s back and there’s nothing else that would mean more than to win a title together.”

Placing third in the Sun Belt Conference Championship landed them a spot in the NCAA South Central Regional meet.

To end the season, the Bobcats placed eighth to match the program’s best finish in the regional meet since 2005.

The team members are dedicated in giving it their all this season, and finishing every race better than the last. Improvement is key, and they will not stop pushing to succeed.

“This is the best team Texas State has ever had without a doubt,” Denomme said. “I’ve never seen so many dedicated, hardworking individuals all working for the same goal. This year will be our year. We will be back at the NCAA Regionals, and will be ready to improve on our eighth-place finish.”

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