|ISU cross-country teams open season strong|
|Written by Ashley Schrader, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Monday, 06 September 2010 19:48|
Beginning the 2010 season on a rainy note is usually never a good sign for any cross-country team. However, the Illinois State men’s and women’s cross-country teams gave the weather no attention in their second-place sweep at the Iowa Invitational at the Ashton Cross-Country course Friday night.
Although the rain in Iowa City got the better of the course, making the ground soft, senior Matt Mroczynski attacked the men’s 6K race and crossed the finish first helping the men’s team to 40 points just behind Iowa (25 points).
The women’s team matched the men’s with a second-place finish with 52 points, while Iowa also stole the team crown with 16 points in the triangular meet.
“I was pleased with what I saw in today’s meet from both teams,” ISU Head Coach Jeff Bovee said.
The men’s team proved that a small group of runners could still make an impact. Combined with Mroczynski’s win, some younger runners made their mark on the Redbird team to defeat Missouri-Kansas City by 19 points.
Mroczynski won with a time of 18:47.23, followed by sophomore Blake Brooks (19:37.85) in eighth. Juniors John Navarro (19:42.31) and Jim Link (19:50.09) crossed in ninth and 10th, respectively, to round out the top 10 spots.
“Matt ran a great race today. He looked strong in his performance, and I expect him to have a great senior season,” Bovee said.
Freshman Matt Schacht notched 12th place in a time of 20:03.63, while sophomore Steven Regan finished in 20:10.71 to earn 14th place.
Freshman Sean Senf (20:20.35) and sophomore Mat Smoody (20:25.76) finished in 15th and 16th place, respectively.
Rounding out the men’s team was redshirt freshman Erik Stanton, who finished in 20:34.86 to take 19th place.
“I think the guys did well overall in the race by working hard and running a smart race,” Bovee said.
He added, “Blake ran a strong race, as well as John and Jim. There were a few surprises on the men’s side with Matt [Schacht] who stepped up as a freshman and did really well finishing in 12th place. Steven also ran a very smart race.”
Not to be outdone by the men’s team, the women’s team had a strong showing in its season opener with three Redbirds finishing in the top 10 of the 3K race against top-team Iowa.
“Anytime you go up against a team like Iowa, who is a regionally and nationally ranked team, you know you will face tough competition and see top runners,” Bovee said.
Senior Jess Husted led the pack in a time of 10:35.41, which was good for fifth place. Senior Olivia Myers (10:58.99) and freshman Kristen Zillmer (10:59.28) finished in ninth and 10th, respectively.
“Jess was in the lead up until the last few meters. She was in a pack of about four or five, but couldn’t finish the race in the front,” Bovee said.
He added, “Having Kristen, who is a freshman, finish in the top 10 is exciting to see and impressive. Kristen did a nice job in today’s meet. Olivia also did well and ran a smart race.”
Junior Aisha Praught just broke the top 15 with a 14th place finish, clocking a time of 11:08.06. Freshman Ruth Allen (11:10.62) crossed in 16th place and senior Kirsten Lang (11:12.98) finished in 18th place.
Freshmen Annette White (11:16.14) and Shannon Nemetz (11:18.22) along with senior Michelle Brunk (11:19.21) finished in 21st through 23rd place, respectively.
Rounding out the Redbird team were freshmen Kim Christensen (11:53.9) and Megan Fry (11:55.4), taking 28th and 29th place, respectively.
The men’s and women’s teams will enjoy a two-week break before hosting the historic Illinois Intercollegiate Championships Sept. 17 at the Weibring Golf Course in Normal.