With the fall season coming to a close for many fall sports, teams are looking for excitement and enthusiasm in the best ways possible. The Lawrence University Cross Country team has a tradition that gets them excited for their final races and in the Halloween spirit called Wacky Wednesday.
Wacky Wednesday is a tradition that began five years ago as a way to add some fun to the most competitive part of the season. It is also an opportunity to bring the team together in a way other than on the race course. Every Wednesday in October is a different theme, such as Crayon Day, Animal Day, Viking Day and Coach Fast Day, where the runners dress up like Jason Fast, Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach. The final Wednesday of October is a costume run. But it wouldn’t be as fun or as fulfilling without the competition between the men’s team and the women’s team, which really drives home the spirit of the team bonding and the want to dress up.
These festive days allow the team to look ahead to their training and next meets, which is crucial, especially after a meet like the one this past weekend. The team raced in the Kollege Town Invitational, a meet hosted in Winneconne, Wisconsin by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The conditions for the meet were burdensome, but the performances did not lack against other major Division 3 teams in the country.
“The Kollege Town Meet was a muddy one,” explained Coach Fast. “We battled well, but there was only so much we could do with the conditions. That said, I think a lot of people walked away from the meet with a hunger to do more at the Conference Championships.” Senior Josh Janusiak finished the race in sixth place with a time of 25:17.4. He placed higher than other competitors who placed seventh and ninth in the NCAA Championship last year, which is a huge accomplishment with that meet being a month away.
“I had one of the best races of my life and placed sixth, which was exciting at this meet,” said Janusiak. With only two weeks left until the Midwest Conference Championship, both teams are geared towards staying healthy and improving. Due to the conditions of Kollege Town, some injuries may not have healed completely, but within the next couple of weeks, things should be better heading into the Conference Championship. The focus in training as of right now for the teams is quality and recovery rather than the volume of it.
“I am really looking forward to Conference because our teams are looking pretty strong at this point in the season,” Janusiak stated. “I think we still have a lot of potential that we haven’t unlocked yet.” The men’s team is aiming to be in the top three teams at conference, as well as being competitive for the title, while the women’s team is aiming to be in the top five teams at conference.
With a limited time to recover, Lawrence’s Cross Country teams will focus on rest and recovery, as well as quality of training in their last two weeks before Conference, and of course you might catch them running campus in their whacky uniforms. The Midwest Conference Championship will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Foss Park Golf Course in North Chicago, Illinois.