Maryland cross country coach Danielle Siebert set lofty goals for her team four months ago at the Terps’ fall sports media day.
She wanted to see a big improvement in her team’s placement and eyed a top-ten finish. Meeting that mark would require her team to match its best-ever season in the Big Ten.
Her bold proclamation came true as Maryland finished 10th at the Big Ten Championships on Oct. 27. The result tied the program’s best-ever finish at the event. The Terps also finished 10th in 2017. They finished last in the conference twice following that season and placed second-to-last at the event last year.
“I’m just really happy that the team embraced that goal and really followed the instructions to be able to get that,” Siebert said. “I think we ran really tough and everyone was where they were supposed to be in order to get our point total in that top 10.”
The Terps will look to build off their finish Friday as they travel to Lehigh for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional.
They’re familiar with the course after running there earlier this season for the Paul Short Run. Graduate student Anna Coffin led Maryland at the late September meet, finishing 49th in a pool of over 400 runners.
Coffin is the Terps’ most experienced runner after returning to College Park for an extra year. The graduate struggled with injuries and setbacks through her first three seasons at Maryland before finally churning out a full year in her senior campaign — one she’s thoroughly enjoying.
“It’s been the best team that I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Coffin said. “We had this goal starting at the beginning of the season, so it was super fulfilling to see that goal accomplished.”
This is Coffin’s second consecutive year competing in the Mid-Atlantic Regionals after finishing 47th in 2022. It’s also her second year as team captain and she’s helped create a positive culture, junior Katie Altieri said.
“We knew what we wanted to accomplish, and I think this season we’ve done a lot more in communicating our individual and team goals,” Altieri said. “We know going into races what we want out of it and I think in the past we kind of just ran but this season we knew in each race what we wanted specifically to get out of it.”
Siebert also praised the team’s culture, saying her squad prioritizes group success over individual success. She credits Coffin’s leadership for keeping the program’s standard high and for cultivating that selfless mentality.
Coffin also said she’s seen Altieri step into a leadership role. The junior had the team’s best time at the Big Ten Championships, finishing 36th. Altieri also had Maryland’s best finish at last year’s Mid-Atlantic Regional at 42nd place.
Altieri believes the Terps’ strong start to the Big Ten Championships set up their success. The junior hopes Maryland can continue to get ahead early and put itself in a good position to win Friday’s race.
“We’ve done a good job this season of putting ourselves in the top pack of the race,” Altieri said. “I think if we do that again, we’ll reach our individual and team goals.”