The cross-country teams put out a dominant performance in Storm Lake this past weekend at the Buena Vista Invite as both the men and women walked away with first-place finishes. Running at the site of the 2016 Conference Championships, the Duhawks looked right at home as they took control of the race from the very start.
The women put out another impressive performance with Audrey Miller once again leading the pack. With another gleaming performance, Miller finished in 22:42 for the 6K, finishing almost 90 seconds in front of teammate Averi Leitzen.
Leitzen had a fantastic race of her own, finishing second for the Duhawks and second overall. Close behind Leitzen was senior Emily Day who finished third overall, adding another solid performance to her senior campaign.
Rounding out the top five was junior Carrie Piper and sophomore Kemunto Ondande, helping to reel in a dominant win for the women. As an example of just how dominant the women were, their average time of 24:07 was more than three-and-a-half minutes faster than the second-place team at the invite.
The men put out a stellar performance in Storm Lake as their top eight men finished top eight overall. The Duhawk men put out such a dominating performance that they found it difficult to find any other runners to pace off of besides themselves.
Junior Mason Tope took off early on in the race and broke away, finishing with a time of 25:59 for the 8K and winning the invite by 72 seconds over teammate senior Brien Nugent. From third to eighth, the plan of action was pack running. The Duhawks finished those six men within 43 seconds of each other, with no gap larger than 14 seconds between two runners. Strategy paid off for the Duhawks this past weekend, as they made a statement on a course they will be seeing again later in the fall.
While Coach Bob Schultz was encouraged by the performance of many of his runners, he made it clear that there is still a lot of work to be done if the Duhawks want to try for a back-to-back sweep of the IIAC Conference Meet. Most notably, Schultz emphasized this about the men.
“Teams see us and know we’re doing well, but they don’t see some of our normal top guys in the top seven. They’re wondering, ‘Where are they?’”
What Schultz is hoping for from this point forward is that some of the men who have yet to break the top five or top seven that were there last year began making moves towards where they should be. As for the women, Schultz is encouraged by their performance and believes that they are way ahead of last year’s team. While that all means good for the Duhawks, Schultz made sure to note that the training process is far from over, and that more improvements are yet to come.
Looking ahead, the Duhawks are set to run against a strong field at the Carleton Invite this upcoming Saturday. Just as they ran at the Buena Vista Invite in order to get a feel for the conference course, the Carleton course is the host of the 2016 NCAA Regional.
The Duhawks look to get a preview of the regional course and assert their power over competitive teams as they come off of a successful weekend in Storm Lake.