In another pre-Midwest Conference (MWC) matchup, the Lawrence University (Vikings) Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams raced at their only home meet of the year at Reid Golf Course at the Gene Davis Invitational. This meet was smaller than most as it included only six teams. However the women took care of it by taking the first place finish. The men placed third.
The smaller size of the meet gave the Vikings a unique mental challenge to prepare them for the MWC meet at the end of the season. In big invites of over a hundred racers, runners are usually surrounded throughout, making front pack running extremely important. In a small meet, such as this one, however, the runners are almost alone as the race spreads out.
“In races where every place matters, it is critical to stay mentally engaged,” junior Max Edwards said. “The home meet was a good opportunity for that because there were not as many competitors so we all had an opportunity to run in space more. Running isolated makes it all the more important to focus on providing your top effort.”
The Vikings certainly provided their top effort in the women’s 6K race. Senior Clare Bruning led the women with a second place finish at 24:01. Bruning was followed by sophomore Erin Schrobilgen (24:27), senior Liz Landes (24:37), sophomore Margaret Huck (24:39) and freshman Sierra Polzin (24:52). All five of the Viking scoring runners finished in the top 10 within a minute of each other, a great sign of success from the top five runners.
The men’s team overall took third, only losing to the competitive programs of University of Wisconsin-Madison Track Club and University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh. Edwards was the top finisher for the Vikings in seventh place with a time of 26:33. Freshman Josh Janusiak (26:46) followed with freshman Ben Schaefer (27:03), senior Cam Davies (27:25) and senior Jordan Atkins (27:52) rounding out the top five for the men. The two freshmen Janusiak and Schaefer are welcome contributions to this surging men’s team. “The freshmen have really stepped up to help us strengthen our top five,” says Edwards. “They give us a narrower gap between our top five runners and help with confidence heading into conference.”
Looking ahead, the cross country team will adjust their training away from heavy running to begin tapering and sharpening up for conference—the final meet of the year—and the Vikings have their sights on the top prize. “We’re trying to do the little things between now and then to stay healthy,” says Edwards. “I believe that if we all run to our potential on that day, we have as good a shot as any.”
Both cross country teams will travel the short distance to UW Oshkosh next weekend in one of the last meets before the conference championships.