The men’s and women’s cross country teams competed to defend their home course at the Gene Davis Invitational, which both teams won last year, on Saturday, October 8. The invitational, named after former cross country and track coach Gene Davis (1929-2006), was held at Reid Municipal Golf Course from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Overall, nearly 260 runners from sixteen teams participated in the invite. The full roster included Beloit College, Carroll University, College of Lake County, Lake Forest College, Lakeland University, Lawrence University, Marian University, the Minnesota Running Club, Mount Mary, North Central College, Ripon College, St. Norbert College, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point, Wisconsin Lutheran College and the Wisconsin Track Club. Lawrence cross country alumni were also invited back to run on their former home course, with three alumni and three alumnae completing the race.
Both teams were unable to replicate last year’s success, however, with the women’s team placing third in team standings with 70 points and the men’s team placing fifth with 150 points, losing to long-time rival Ripon College and to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, respectively, who both scored 35 points. Top women’s runner Cristyn Oliver, who was recently named Performer of the Week by the Midwest Conference, said of the loss, “I know I can go faster than what I did [today], but I’m not discouraged by it. I’m going to use it to fuel myself for the rest of the season.” Oliver was one of the standout runners of the day, placing first in the 6,000m women’s race with a time of 23:09.6, along with Adam Bruce, who placed third after covering the 8,000m men’s race in 25:44.6, only forty-one seconds behind the men’s course record. (The record is held by Josh Janusiak, a former Lawrence runner, who completed the course in 25:03.0 in 2018.)
Other scorers on the women’s team included Riley Winebrenner in ninth place (24:03.1), Madeline Taylor in eleventh place (24:12.5), Althea Foster in twentieth place (24:30.3), and Edythmae Frodl in twenty-ninth place (25:03.7). The men’s score was completed by Itai Bojdak-Yates in twenty-seventh place (27:28.6), Ray Wetzel-Meehan in thirty-third place (28:12.3), Zach Casper in forty-third place (29:35.1) and Connor Myatt in forty-fourth place (29:40.7).
While perhaps disappointed, Oliver was not concerned about their standings as a team, saying, “It’s just an invitational; what really matters is conference.” Both teams won their conference last year “as underdogs,” according to Oliver. “We’re the underdogs again this year, but we’re good at winning as underdogs,” she continued. The teams will be looking to uphold their champion status at the Midwest Conference Championships this year, which will be held at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill. on Oct. 29. They will also have a chance at redemption this Saturday, Oct. 15, as they are competing at the Augustana College Interregional Rumble in Rock Island, Ill.