August 24, 2012

Finora Begins New Era for Coker Cross Country

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The men's and women's cross country teams had quite a makeover during the offseason. The program brought a familiar face at Coker, Vic Finora, to take over as head coach and welcomed in six freshmen – three on either side – to the team.

"I'm very excited," said Finora, who also doubles as the assistant coach for women's basketball. "It's great to have my own program."

Finora takes over a program that, between the two teams, boasts just four upperclassmen. Sophomores Dylan Bates and Stephanie Shaw look to anchor the men's and women's sides, respectively.

"All of our runners are very dedicated, but these guys have really put the time in and shown some leadership here early on," Finora said.

The players are embracing the new style that Finora brings to the table.

"I like him a lot," Shaw said of the new coach. "We are doing some different exercises for training. He's really helping us, and I think it's a fresh start for us."

Last year's team had a top finish of fourth place, at the Greensboro Invitational. The ultimate goal, though, is to improve at the conference championships.

"I hope we'll peak at the right time and make noise there," said Bates. "I really think we're going to have a good season. Everyone is in good shape and working hard each day. With the returning guys, the new recruits and coach Vic I think we'll have a shot at doing well."

Finora says the biggest task is infusing the winning attitude throughout the program.

"Success hasn't been where we want it to be as a program," he said. "I want the kids to believe in themselves and to know that it's worth it to put in the work. I think we are on the right path already.

 "I'm as competitive a person as you can find. I'm going to work until we have success. The future is bright for Coker cross country."

Cross country opens its season Aug. 31 at the Eye Opener in Spartanburg, S.C.

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