Brock Moreaux has had to hit the ground running. South Carolina’s new cross country coach and track and field assistant coach for distance was recently hired by new head track and field coach Tim Hall, and he has a lot to do to not only get his program up to speed with the fall season beginning on September 1, while also getting out there to recruit, but also in preparing to host the SEC Cross Country Championship in October.
“As soon as I got the job, I was on the phone with a different girl on the team every fifteen minutes,” Moreaux said. “Typically, when you come into a new program, the big piece is establishing the culture that you know will be able to elevate the student-athletes. Fortunately, the foundation of the culture was already there. They’re an awesome, supportive group. I’m excited to provide that extra stability that will help take them from where they are to getting them to where they want to be. What showed me how mature the culture was could be seen in how much they helped our group of freshmen.
“I want to have an individualized, personal approach with them. Not everything works for the same person, so I have to have that individual approach and really figure out what works for you and makes you tick. Then we figure out how to bring that into the team environment. At the end of the day, they’re all going to benefit from that group setting. They need to understand that what they need to do is going to impact the whole team.”
One of Moreaux’s goals in year one is to increase the team’s standing in the SEC.
“We’ve got the pieces,” Moreaux said. “The talent is here. We’ve got some very good girls that are returning and some really good newcomers. I have no doubt that they can be a top eight team in the SEC for cross country, which would be the highest they’ve been since 2001. So, that would be a pretty awesome thing in year one.
“The long-term goal is consistency and fighting to be in the top five in the SEC. If you’re top five in SEC cross country, you’re bidding for nationals. That’s a goal as well; to have a team going to nationals on the cross side.”
“We have to learn how to train together. There’s an art to understanding that I may not have to go all out all the time.”
Getting to that point may not happen overnight, and Moreaux is preparing for the challenges ahead.
“I’ve hit the ground running on the recruiting side for the class of 2024 as well,” Moreaux said. “One of my biggest challenges is getting them to understand the difference between training and racing. We have to learn how to train together. There’s an art to understanding that I may not have to go all out all the time, and if I can stay in my zone, then that helps this teammate, then that helps me and the group.”
South Carolina will host the SEC Championship on Friday, October 27 at Charwood Golf Club.
“It makes it exciting to be able to have all of their friends and family there,” Moreaux said. “We’ll host a home meet there earlier in the season, so they’ll have a chance to run it. We’ll have access there to do some easy runs when the golf course is closed. We’ll have a good idea of the course. We construct the course ourselves. That was one of the first things I did when I got here. I met with everyone about the process of hosting, and we looked at different course potentials, and we have it locked down now.”
While they’re still early in their training, Moreaux is already identifying his top runners, which is a mix of veterans and newcomers, and he hopes the competition will make everyone else better.
“The big returners for us include (So.) Silan (Ayyildiz),” Moreaux said. “She’s running at the World Championships right now. She’s a huge leader on the team. Judy (Kosgei) is an incoming freshman for us this year, and I think she can be a very big piece. (Fr.) Sylvia (Chelangat) only ran track last year, but she’ll venture into cross country this year, and that will be a little different, but that level of experience that she has competing will elevate her. Katrine (Risvig) is an incoming freshman from Denmark who can be another key piece.
“We also have a great group from four to 16 that can beat anyone on a given day. We have some great returners with (So.) Ella Zeigler, (Jr.) Grace (Zamrowski), (Sr.) Hope Dominique, and others in the group that are really going to help elevate what we were in the three to five range. I think we’ll have 16 girls that can be there this year.”
For now, Moreaux is looking forward to seeing the team compete, beginning on September 1 at the Eye Opener meet hosted by USC Upstate.
“They’re such a supportive group,” Moreaux said. “They’re all really good friends, and they click really well together. I need to craft training so they can build on that.”