No. 9-ranked men’s cross-country team dominates opening meet; women 2nd
Big performances are expected from the men’s and women’s cross-country team this season. With eight men and 12 women joining the roster, both teams continue to add depth and talent.
Going into the season, the men are ranked first in the region and ninth in the NCAA Division III national rankings after a strong finish last year. Meanwhile, the Loras women are ranked third in the region, with two other Iowa Conference teams ranked ahead of them.
After a rigorous offseason of training, the Duhawks picked up right where they left off last season. At the Elmhurst (IL) Earlybird Invite on Sept. 1, the Loras men, who are returning four of their top five runners from a year ago, dominated the 11-team meet.
A trio of seniors — Mason Tope, Timothy Sevcik and O’Brien Nugent — finished first, second and third, respectively, in the 120-man field. Senior Justin Adams and sophomore Patrick Wolak rounded out the top five for the Duhawks, placing sixth and eighth, respectively.
Tope broke the course record in Elmhurst, clocking in at 18:33 for the 6K course. Tope followed in junior Audrey Miller’s footsteps, as she broke Elmhurst’s course record last season.
The women looked just as strong despite the notable absence of Miller, who was sitting out of the race as a result of a minor injury. Senior Kelly Minear paced the Duhawks, notching a fourth-place finish out of 115 runners.
Juniors Kemunto Ondande and Liz Venezio picked up where they left off last season, finishing 10th and 14th, respectively.
Two first-year runners rounded out the top five for Loras in their first collegiate race. Kristan Brown and Allie Serres placed 20th and 21st, respectively.
As a team, the women finished second in the 10-team race, proving that even without their top runner, they remain a force to be reckoned with.
After a solid performance at Elmhurst, the Duhawks did not compete this past weekend ahead of the National Catholic Championships at Notre Dame, which takes place this weekend.
The men will look to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish, which typically attracts dozens of teams, while the women hope to beat their eighth-place finish from last season.