Cross country teams take title at WL Invitational

After overcoming conditions that slowed the course down significantly, it was another successful weekend for the Lawrence University men’s and women’s cross country teams. For the first time in school history, the team took home the overall team title at the Wisconsin Lutheran Invitational, with both men’s and women’s teams coming in second in their respective races. “[Winning] that was a great accomplishment—it shows just how great both teams are,” noted head coach Jason Fast.

The big story was the pack-style running of the women’s team. All five of the scoring runners finished the 6,000-meter race within one-half minute of each other. Sophomore Liz Landes led the group with her 11th place finish. She crossed the line in 24:30. Next to finish for the Vikings was a pack of runners led by sophomore Clare Bruning in 24:49. Following her were freshmen Kristin Bischel and Amy Hutchings, along with senior Katherine Dannecker. Bruning, Bischel, Hutchings and Dannecker took 15th, 16th, 17th and 19th respectively.

The women’s team finished just two points behind Augustana College, a team that is currently ranked seventh in the Midwest Region. The success should be chalked up to the pack-running mentality: “Our newly formed pack is actually the most exciting part of this season,” remarked Landes. “It literally makes coach Fast glow, he gets so giddy.” Moreover, the pack-running allows for a greater team effort. “We’re rarely in the same order, which shows the skill of each runner,” continues Landes. “The pack’s going to keep moving up, and we’re going to move together.”

On the men’s side, there were similar successes. Led by senior Jamie Brisbois, the men’s team also nabbed second place in the team standings. Brisbois took fifth overall with a time of 27:28. Trailing him was sophomore Jonah Laursen, who finished the 8,000 meters in 28:13. Junior Kyle Dockery was next in 28:21, and seniors Curran Carlile and Dan Thoresen rounded out the scoring for the Vikings with their times of 28:45 and 28:50. Laursen, Dockery, Carlile and Thoresen grabbed 19th, 21st, 29th, and 33rd, respectively.

Coach Fast is excited about both teams’ prospects for the Midwest Conference meet in a couple weeks. “If both teams continue to progress, they will be in contention for the MWC title,” he stated. “It’s exciting for me as a coach to see both teams performing at such a high level.” In the end, it was a good day: “It was a bummer to lose by two points, that’s for sure. It makes you think about the smallest things you could’ve done differently during your race,” noted Landes. “But the other girls better be proud of their races because I am of them!”