Runners fall up North
The men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Minneapolis, Minn. for the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 29.
The breezy, sunny day was the perfect weather for the race, allowing for the athletes to perform at top capacity. Joe Samprone, the men and women’s cross country coach, took the top five men and women from each team to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Junior Allison Lones finished 144th out of the 413 women competing in the 6K with a time of 25:03. Lones was the first to finish for the women’s team.
“This was the biggest race I’ve ever (run) in my life,” Lones said. “I’ve also never run on a golf course before. For this first 6K of the season, I feel like I did pretty well.”
Finishing behind Lones with a time of 25:09 was freshman Taylor Roeck, who placed 152th overall. Placing 188th, senior Victoria Dobson finished with a time of 25:34. Sophomore Whitney Sweet ran the difficult race in 25:51 placing 212nd, while freshman Meghan Wetterhall crossed the finish line with a time of 26:18 and coming in 246th.
The team placed 27 out of the 38 participating teams.
“Overall I think my team did well,” Lones said. “Our top five for the team are fairly young. The 6K was challenging and so was the amount of runners.”
On the men’s side of things, freshman Paul McNeil thought the terrain of the golf course was tough and unfamiliar.
“The rolling hills and crowdedness of the path made for weird footing,” McNeil said. “I would fly down the downhills and crawl up the uphills because of it.”
The men’s team raced on an 8K course against 430 runners from 36 different teams, finishing 33rd overall. Finishing first on the team was senior Philip Laskey who came out 190th overall, with a time of 28:11. McNeil finished the race with a time of 28:56, placing 250th.
Freshman James Ryden crossed the finish line at 29:58, finishing 313 out of the 430 runners. Finishing 343 overall with a time of 30:43 was junior Tucker Forbes, while freshman Michael Valerio finished with a time of 31:20 and placed 367th.
“For the men’s team, I think this is probably our weakest point in the season,” McNeil said. “How we respond to our performance shows the true potential of our team. You can’t just look at one meet, you have to look at the whole season.”
The men’s and women’s teams both prepared on a daily basis for this invitational, alternating between speed workouts, long runs and weight training. Steven Cary, the new graduate assistant for the teams, implemented the use of weight training this semester upon his arrival. Most team members agree that it has helped in their overall performance.
“Both teams ran well,” Samprone said. “Every meet we have leading up to the Conference is training for the Conference. All of the runner’s hard work and training is showing results. Both teams are pushing forward and making great progress.”