Duhawks dominate at Heritage

DUBUQUE, IA. – An above-average amount of rainfall might cancel cross country meets, but it doesn’t stop the cross country team from hosting pseudo-races to take the place of their competitions. Last Friday, Oct. 11, the Duhawks were set to host their annual home cross country meet at the Dubuque Soccer Complex. This is always a fun meet, where Loras cross country alumni return home and race with the current team. However, come race-week, Mother Nature had her own plans.

While the soccer complex is located at one of the highest points in Dubuque, it does not drain well when heavy rainfall occurs—especially when the rainfall occurs for multiple days leading up to the meet. With soggy fields and limited drainage, head coach Bob Schultz and the owner of the Dubuque Soccer Complex decided on Tuesday, Oct. 8 to cancel the meet in favor of salvaging the fields, where the 2019 cross country conference meet will be hosted on Nov. 2.

Unfortunately, this is the second year the home cross country meet has been cancelled due to rain. The 2018 home meet also took place as a “pseudo-race” on Heritage Trail, and was dubbed the “Heritage Trail Classic.” After learning the 2019 home meet was to be cancelled, the team wasted no time transitioning their mindset to the second annual Heritage Trail Classic “race.” This was certainly a good decision, as the Dubuque Soccer Complex course would likely have not yielded fast times on Friday in its waterlogged condition.

In addition to the cross country alumni, many teams were invited to the home meet on Oct. 11. When the meet was cancelled, Schultz reached out to the other cross country teams in town—namely, the University of Dubuque and Clarke University—extending an invitation to join the Duhawks down at Heritage Tail for a pseudo-race. The race distances would be true to a normal meet—women racing a 6k and men racing an 8k—and there would be a set time for everyone to begin, allowing ample time to arrive at the trail and warm up. Both the women’s and men’s teams from Clarke attended the “Heritage Trail Classic,” as well as the men’s team from UD.

With temperatures barely in the forties at “race time”, some members of the team chose to bundle up while other brave souls sported racing tanks and shorts. Outfit choice, however, did not seem to deter the Duhawks one way or the other. Even in non-race conditions, most of the Duhawks showed great times at the end of their respective 6k or 8k “race.” Heritage Trail is the location for many of the team’s workouts and long runs, meaning they know the trail like the back of their hand. Familiarity and the flatness of the trail both contributed to great times, as well as a few 6k/8k PR’s for many Duhawks. Most runners improved upon their times from last week—the race in Waverly, IA., better known as the season’s first (and hopefully only) “mud run”—and a few even finished with lifetime PR’s in their respective races. These were all good signs for the Duhawks as they head into the back half of their season.

“It was definitely a chilly day for a race, but I think the team did a great job performing despite the weather, especially since it wasn’t a formal meet,” said junior team captain Morgan Minear. “A lot of my teammates earned PR’s, myself included, which is excellent under the circumstances! I’m excited to see what tapering will do for us!”

With only one regular season competition left for the Duhawks in Ohio, they will be entering into championship season shortly. Along with championship season comes “taper season”—a period of time where the runners will decrease their mileage in order to give their legs more time to rest and recover before the big meets coming up.

The Duhawks will travel to Oberlin, OH., this upcoming weekend to participate in the Inter-Collegiate Rumble race hosted by Oberlin College. Following this weekend, championship season kicks off with conference at the Dubuque Soccer Complex on Sat., Nov. 2. Following the conference meet is the 2019 Central Region cross country championship meet on Sat., Nov. 16, hosted by Wartburg College in Waverly, IA. This meet will dictate which teams move on to Nationals in Louisville, KY., on Nov. 23.

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Audrey Miller is a writer for The Lorian.

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