With all the attention in the preseason on the older members of both cross country teams, some players stayed out of the light and still ended up making a huge impact in the season’s first race.
ISU’s Kaley Ummel, sophomore, ran away from the competition and finished first place for the women on Friday at the Hawkeye Invitational.
Ummel may have taken home the hardware, but newcomers Haley Goers and Haley Verbeke also finished the competition sixth and eighth, respectively.
It was a huge event for the lesser-known members of the team, but the main group from last year also competed very well.
Overall, the Redbird women had eight racers finish inside the top 16, including Ellen Devereux, who finished 10th, followed by Ashley Kamin, 12th; Krista DeCeault, 13th; Sarah Castel, 15th; and Kimi Sanden, 16th.
On the men’s side of the race, there were questions surrounding the team as to who was going to step up in the absence of team leader Ryan Rutherford, who didn’t compete in the race.
Sophomore Aidan Askin made his presence known, finishing seventh in the race, and was directly followed by freshmen Paul Steeno and Marcelo Burbano, who finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
Finishing next for the Redbirds was
Jesse Hahne who came in 11th place. He was followed by Ryan Bybee, 13th; and Scott Janusick, 14th. Brendan Hoskins rounded out the pack finishing 18th.
Both teams competed very well; the women have found some new faces to compete with their veterans, and demonstrated why they were the preseason favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference title.
On the other side, the men found out that the team is more than just Rutherford, and had a strong showing from each racer. They also showed that people may have underestimated the team in the preseason, and they may finish better than fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Both cross country teams will compete on Friday, in Peoria in the Bradley Open. The women will have a 3-mile race starting at 5:30 p.m. and the men have an 8K race at 6:15 p.m.