Over the past weekend, Lawrence University hosted an array of sporting events for Blue and White Weekend, the newest theme for Fall Festival weekend. Amongst those events, the Gene Davis Invitational cross country meet was held on Saturday morning at the Reid Golf Course. Not only was the meet the only home meet of the season, it was also one of the only meets where the students of Lawrence, alumni of Lawrence and families of the athletes can show their support for the team. There were 240 runners in total, along with about a thousand friends and families to cheer on each runner.
“The home meet had a very exciting atmosphere,” senior Josh Janusiak said. “It was also like a reunion of sorts because we had an impressive number of alumni runners show up to race with us.” The atmosphere of the meet also happened to be very conducive towards the athletes’ mindset, giving them an overall boost of confidence despite the poor conditions of the race course that resulted in aggravated injuries and incomplete races.
Janusiak finished first in the men’s 8,000-meter race 36 seconds ahead of second place with a time of 25:03.44. For the third consecutive year, Janusiak has finished first over the rest of the competition. This year, he broke the previous course record of 25:39, and with this time under his belt, he has the fastest time of the year for a Midwestern Conference runner. Junior Joe Kortenhof, also had an excellent performance coming in at third while recovering from health issues. The men’s side of the team wanted to come out with a win over the other schools, but due to the course conditions and injuries, were unable to do so, but still came in sixth overall.
The women’s team placed seventh overall with great performances from freshman Leah Hawksford and sophomore Alex Chand. They placed 23rd and 31st, respectively, at the times of 24:36.33 and 25:06.99. As the season continues and heads into the last meet before the Midwest Conference Championships, both of the teams are aiming to be healthy and to progress in their abilities.
“The teams are trending in the right direction,” said head cross country coach Jason Fast. “We are focused on finishing the season at our best and this week we took another step towards that for both the men’s and women’s teams.” Right now, there are injuries for the team that can only recover with time, but hopefully before the final meet of the year they will recover to the extent that they can achieve their goals and beat their personal records. It is still important to focus on one race at a time.
Lawrence University’s Cross Country team will have its final meet before the Conference Championships this Saturday, Oct. 13, in Winneconne, Wisconsin for the Kollege Town Invitational hosted by University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Championships will take place on Saturday, Oct. 27, in Illinois. With their goals in mind, the team will be able to advance further on the path towards success.