Cross country places top five in season opener

By Kaitlyn Smith, A&E Editor

The Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams started their season last weekend at the J.K. Gold Classic in Augusta.  Both teams ran well with the women’s team placing fourth.

Here’s a look into how both the teams are faring this season.    

Women’s Cross Country

Every week these women start an extensive training week that looks a little something like this: 10 miles on Mondays, 5:45 a.m. practice on Tuesdays followed by interval training in the evening, easy-run Wednesday, morning practice Thursdays with a moderate run at night, then they do a race simulation on Friday nights unless they have a race on Saturday, then they have an easy run.  All of this training with one goal in mind.  

Senior Clara Lane has been on the team since her freshman year and said she is proud of the team’s performance this past weekend.  

“I think we did pretty well the first meet.  Our goal was to be the first non-D1 team in standings, and we did just that,” Lane said. “Our times may not have been exactly what we wanted, but we had a promising start.  I’m really proud of how Klair Gibson stepped up to be our top runner of the week.”  

Gibson finished in 22nd place with a time of 15:41.7 for the 4,000 meter dash.  Lane finished in 23rd place with a time of 15:43 and Lauren Nutting finished in 25th with a time of 15:49.2.

The average time for the women this weekend was 15.51.  

“I am personally looking forward to Conference this year, and I think the team is too,” Lane said.  “It’s a big red circle on our metaphorical calendar.  We have done really well there over the years and want to build on our third place finish last year.”  

The women’s team said it’s excited to get back into the season and to have new girls, sophomore Spencer Jacobson and freshmen Emilee Endsley join them.  

“I think you guys can look forward to seeing us build up each race until Conference in November,” Lane said.  “Behind the scenes, we’re really making strides (no pun intended) to get where we want to be.”

Men’s Cross Country

The men’s team will be facing many challenges because of four injuries.

Sophomore Alejandro Ultreras said the team is excited to accomplish more than it did last year.  

“The determination and passion during our workouts is what makes us better than when we started,” said Ultreras.  

Although the team struggled this weekend, members said they are setting their goals high for the rest of the season.  

“We were short on completing the race as a team due to injuries but those who ran did outstanding,” said Ultreras.  “We weren’t where we wanted to be but it’s definitely a start.  We had our top runner finish first place for the non-division 1 athletes.”  

The top runner from this tournament was Robert Todokou who finished in 17th overall.  

Ultreras said he is ready for the team to prove itself.  

“We have set our goals high this year.  The cross country team is working hard to bounce back from last season with a top three finish at the Heartland Conference.  The school record for the 8k is also up for grabs with this hard working team.”

The men’s team did not place at this competition.  

The next competition for both teams will begin at 8 a.m. this Saturday in Joplin, Missouri at the Southern Stampede.  

PHOTO: THE JET WOMEN finished in fourth overall with three finishing within the top 30. Courtesy photo, Newman Athletics