Men finish 5th and women finish 8th in cross-country invitational
Among hundreds of racers in their respective races, the Duhawks fought the crowds to continue their success this season.
With 599 finishers and 50 teams in the Brissman/Lundeen Invitational, the men’s team took 5th place overall, behind only a few Division III teams such as UW-Platteville, Wartburg and Augustana. There was a slight shift in the team dynamic on Friday as sophomore Mason Tope made it into the chute first for the Duhawks. Tope was just outside of the top 7 when the team went to the National Championships last year, so this is just one example of his progression as a runner.
“One of the major factors … for finishing up there now would be experience,” Tope said. “I was just starting last year, and … towards the end, I was just getting the hang of the mindset and mental strength needed to push in an 8,000-meter race versus a 5,000-meter race.”
Like head coach Bob Schultz commented last week, he understands the hole left behind when last year’s seniors graduated.
“It’s up to the rest of us to take their places and do better for the team. I was excited that I could help … and it is an honor as much as a responsibility … to stay healthy and to make safe choices,” Tope said.
He ran a 25:20 on Friday, which is a lifetime personal record for him.
“I felt good at the end and felt fast,” Tope said about the race. “It was a blast to race and awesome to finish right with teammates.” He also said his training this summer and this season hasn’t been much different, but “the only thing that is different is my mindset.”
On the women’s side, senior Maggie Saenz-Ruiz lead the team finishing 8th out of 584 runners, followed by senior Bri Cook in 20th and junior Emily Day in 56th. They finished 8th out of 50 teams. Similar to the men’s team, the women also had a returning sophomore stand out in the race. Sophomore Carrie Piper finished 7th for the Duhawks; it was her first time breaking into the top 7.
“It felt great because all the hard work over the past year and especially this past summer are paying off,” Piper said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without the help of my teammates either.” She ran a total of 425 miles this summer, and she said, “It’s definitely the most I’ve ever done. Getting my mileage up and running six days a week toward the end of the summer made all the difference.” Piper ran 25:28 for her 6,000-meter race, which was also a personal record.
The Duhawks have a week off before they head to Lewis University on Oct. 10.