This past weekend the Lawrence University Cross Country team travelled to the Foss Park Golf Course in Lake Forest, Illinois to compete in the Midwest Conference Championships. Despite not getting the results that both the men’s and women’s teams would have wanted, they still ran very well under the circumstances and improved their times individually.
“We definitely had our sights set higher, but both teams ran really well,” said Coach Jason Fast of the Men and Women’s Cross Country teams. “All of our finishers ran really great races, but it was all we had that day.”
The women’s team’s goal was to be in the top five for teams overall in the meet, but unfortunately fell short by four points and finished sixth overall while St. Norbert College took the women’s MWC Championship title. Alex Chand, sophomore, ran her best race of the year and led the women’s side. She ran a time of 24:17.4 and placed 21st in the race. Chand was only three seconds away from the final All-Conference honor spot. Freshman Leah Hawksford finished second for the team in 29th with a time of 24:38.8. Molly Doruska, senior, came in two seconds behind Hawksford in 32nd place.
The men’s team’s goal was to be in the top three teams overall, but without two key freshmen due to injuries and illnesses, the team ended up in fifth place while Cornell College took the MWC Championship title. Despite this outcome, the results of the other runners on the men’s team did not deviate from normal. Senior Josh Janusiak won the meet with a time of 24:49.3. This is his third consecutive win at the MWC Championship meet. The accomplishment of winning three years in a row makes him the first to do so in Lawrence history and the sixth to do so in conference history. Janusiak earned his fourth All-Conference honor, making him one of the four Lawrence men to accomplish this in the University’s history. Junior Joe Kortenhof also had a great race, coming in eighth place overall with a time of 25:47.1. He received his third All-Conference honor and will be one of the top contenders returning to the meet next year.
“We have such a fantastic, hard-working team this year, and that really showed,” said Chand. The team’s progress was prominent since they had previously raced on the course and everyone improved on their times. Many of the athletes got their season’s best times.
The next step in the team’s season is the NCAA Regional Championship hosted by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The top seven runners from both sides will advance into this meet, and from there the top seven individuals that aren’t on a qualifying team will advance to Nationals. For the runners who won’t be competing in the regional meet, their main focus will be on resetting the body and preparing themselves for indoor track. That way, everyone can be healthy and in good shape for the competition that will start in January.