Cross-country runners continue to impress at National Catholic invite

The Loras cross-country men and women put on a good show at the National Catholic Championships hosted by Notre Dame this past weekend, with the men turning in a top five finish while the women posted a top 10 finish, moving up three spots from last season. Both races provided encouragement that the men and women are both in great condition to make runs at historic seasons.

After moving up in the rankings to 11th in the nation, the Loras men came into the meet with high expectations surrounding them as they won the meet both last year and the year before. This year would not spell out the same luck for the Duhawks as they placed fourth overall in the meet. Although the finish is short of the last couple seasons, the men had nothing to be disappointed in, considering that the three teams that beat them were Division II teams ranked in the top 25.

Performance-wise, it was a solid day for the Duhawks as the top three men finished within the top 15. Following with an outstanding performance of his own was first-year Patrick Wolak, who finished fourth for the Duhawks and 32nd overall.

“We had some new guys in scoring positions for us which was great for them, but the rest of the guys we were counting on weren’t where we need them to be,” Coach Schultz said. “If they were where we need them to be, I feel we had a shot at winning for the third year in a row.”

Despite the women falling outside of the top 35 in the nation, the Duhawks put on a great race at Notre Dame, finishing eighth place overall and second among all Division III teams. Three women finished within the top 50 of a powerful field, including another gleaming performance from sophomore Audrey Miller. Along with her third place finish at the meet, she came within one second of the school record, finishing with a time of 18:06. Looking back, Schultz believes that the team is in a good place.

“We are way ahead of last year at this point,” he said.

The more the women perform, the more they are making a name for themselves, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the women back in the top 35 when polls come out this week.

Coming off of an exciting meet, the Duhawks are setting their sights on the Buena Vista Invitational, where they will get a preview of the Iowa Conference Championships course. Schultz has high hopes for the future.

“I’m excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for us. It is early in the season. We’ll get better.”

With already advanced performances from the women and steady improvements from the men, there is nothing left to suggest that the Duhawks won’t become a household name this season. Look for top finishes from both teams as they compete in Storm Lake against solid teams, including some conference opponents.

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