Mar 5, 2021 | SPORTS | By Will Taylor | Photo by Anil Jergens
On Saturday, Feb. 6, the Colorado College men’s cross country team won its second Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title in many years. The Tigers outpaced the competition with three top-five finishes, and six runners in the top 14, to finish 11 points ahead of second place Trinity University.
The Tigers were led by Josh Fry ’22, who has found sustained success throughout his career at CC.
As a first-year, he was named SCAC Newcomer of the Year, and helped the Tigers finish second at the SCAC Championships.
Last year, Fry earned all-SCAC honors, and was a co-recipient of the team’s Most Improved Runner Award.
In his junior year, Fry was named the SCAC Runner of the Year, became CC’s first ever National Cross Country Runner of the Week, and has since stepped into a leadership role on the team.
“I try and set an example for the younger guys because I am an upperclassman this year,” Fry said. “We don’t have any seniors on the team, and so I try to set an example by putting in the work.”
Interim head coach Alex Nichols, who took over from longtime coach Ted Castaneda in December, agreed.
“Josh is not necessarily the most outspoken athlete, but the team would not be the same without him,” Nichols said. “He is a part of a solid group of juniors that make up our current team’s leadership. Having such a talented force like Josh leading the way has set a great example for the younger runners in the squad.”
Fry credits his success and leadership qualities to the upperclassmen he raced with in his first two years at the college.
“I was really lucky my first two years here. I had really good examples and really good people to look up to,” he said. “And also I got really lucky with the coaching staff. We are really lucky coaching wise. I credit my success to good leadership and good coaching.”
With the 2020-2021 season over, the Tigers are looking to the future. The team is not graduating any runners, and a few are coming back after taking a year off, so there are high hopes for continued success next season.
“The team definitely wants to do the three-peat for conference,” Fry said. “I want to win a conference title again next year, but I know that next year will be even more competitive. My main goal is the three-peat.”
Nichols, who graduated from CC in 2008, wants to push Fry further.
“Josh has the potential to break our school record in the 1,500 meters from 2011 and qualify for track nationals as an individual,” he said. “With Josh and the rest of the team who is returning, I think the men’s cross country team has to see themselves as a contender for a top 20 team finish at nationals in 2021.”
Regardless of the results, the affection that Fry has for running is clear to those around him.
“Josh’s success is a direct reflection of his deeper-level motivation and passion for running,” Nichols said. “Josh’s biggest strength is his ability to compete in such a wide variety of distances. He really can do it all.”