The Loras men’s and women’s cross-country teams made another huge statement this past weekend at the Running of the Cows hosted by Carleton College.
This year’s location for the NCAA Regional meet treated the Duhawks well, as the men pulled out a first-place team finish and the women finished second as a team.
As the biggest races of the season approach, the Duhawks are looking more and more dominant each time they step out onto the course.
For the men, it was junior Mason Tope who led the Duhawks once again with a time of 25:45, placing second overall in the race. Junior Brien Nugent and sophomore Jack Carroll both finished within the top 10 for the Duhawks as well, running 25:57 and 26:08 respectively.
The impressive run didn’t stop there, as the Duhawks finished with seven men under the 27-minute mark and placed eight runners in the top 24. With a great performance in the books, Carroll believes the Duhawks can definitely beat the teams ranked above them.
“We dominated at Carleton without Timothy Sevcik and some of us having off days. Imagine what we can do when everybody is on,” Carroll said.
Coach Schultz spoke with confidence in his team as well.
“We have had some guys who have been super consistent such as Mason, Brien and Patrick. They are always there, and you can always count on them to be there,” Schultz said. “Our depth really showed with eight in the top 24 … but not everyone had a good day.”
The Duhawks still have a month and a half of training before they return to run at Regionals, and the entire team is confident that it is only looking up from here.
The women had a performance that rivaled that of the men, bringing with it some rather noteworthy highlights. Audrey Miller walked away with yet another first place finish, this time a close one as she edged out her opponent by two seconds. Along with her time of 21:55, the second-fastest time in Loras history, she edged out last year’s Division III National Champion, putting herself into the spotlight as the most important races of the season approach.
The notable achievements kept coming for the Duhawks as first-year Averi Leitzen finished second for the team and 11th overall, beating her personal best by 30 seconds. Sophomore Kemunto Ondande and senior Emily Day worked together to come in 21st and 22nd respectively, finishing only three seconds apart and emphasizing Coach Schultz’s strategy of pack running. Junior Carrie Piper rounded out the top five for the ladies, finishing with a time of 24:36 and wrapping up a solid performance.
As an example of the improvements the women continue to make, the top seven women for the Duhawks came through with an average time of 23:39.5, a great improvement in comparison to the 24:07 average time that was posted two weekends ago at Buena Vista. Look for that team average to continue dropping as the ladies make the push for a national championship bid this season.
“I thought we competed well, and as well as we did, I know we can do even better,” said Coach Schultz in regards to the women’s race.
Schultz looks to the future with hope and confidence.
“We will make some great strides in the next month and a half before we return to that course for regionals.”
The upcoming meet for the cross-country team is close to home as they run at the Dubuque Soccer Complex on Friday, Oct. 14. The home meet promises to bring some good competition, and the course will be testing for a continually improving Duhawk squad.