Pucella has high hopes for repeat of last year's season

Dom Pucella is a triple major. That’s right – three majors. As a 5th year senior, Pucella is currently working towards degrees in accounting, finance, and political science pre-law (with a minor in Economics).

Not only is Pucella taking on three times the average amount of education and workload than the average Mercyhurst University student – he is also a student athlete – a runner for Mercyhurst University men’s cross country. Still think you’re busy?

Surprisingly, Pucella wasn’t always on the cross country team. As a matter of fact, he never even tried the sport until his junior year at Mercyhurst University.

“After my sophomore year, I was just really bored and wanted to get back into competitive sports,” said Pucella. Back in high school (Notre Dame Cathedral Latin in Cleveland), Pucella played basketball. Pucella continued, “I had never tried cross-country, so I took it as a challenge and walked onto the team.”

Pucella is humble about his hefty responsibilities. Juggling an immense triple-school-workload and cross country is no easy task, but he manages to keep himself motivated and continually striving for success.

“I find my inspiration in myself, knowing the struggles I’ve gone through to make it this far,” said Pucella. During his junior year, Pucella had hip surgery, costing him much of the season.

The Mercyhurst University Men’s Cross Country season kicked into full gear September 1st, with the Mercyhurst Invitational at Pleasant Ridge Park in Fairview, Pa. Mercyhurst University placed 5th, while junior Jacob Griffin toke 4th place overall with a time of 28:13.

“Obviously, the first race of the season wasn’t what we had planned, but we learned a lot and know that we have to work that much harder to prove we are a good team,” said Pucella.

Coming off the best season for Mercyhurst University men’s cross country in the school’s history, expectations are high for this year. The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference preseason coaches’ poll has the team picked to finish 11th this season.

With only eight teammates, Pucella understands that keeping up with expectations will be a battle this season.

“There is certainly pressure to follow up last year’s great season, so I feel like the team is more driven to prove that we are still a good team,” said Pucella.

Cross country often falls to the wayside with so many other sports beginning in the fall, but it is important to support all of our Laker teams. Being a part of the crowd, supporting the team can make all the difference.

“Fan recognition is always a way to help the team do better. Seeing your friends and classmates screaming from the sidelines gives you an extra shot of adrenaline that allows you to pass the people in front of you,” said Pucella.

Cross country took fourth place at the Fredonia State Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 8, with 94 total team points. Their next meet is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 14, for the annual Notre Dame University National Catholic Invitational in South Bend, Indiana.