Cross country focuses on upcoming conference meet

The Lawrence men’s and women’s cross country teams competed this weekend at the AAE Invitational in Oshkosh, Wis. Hosted by UW-Oshkosh, this immense meet included 46 teams with over 400 runners in each race. The meet also included some of the historically top division three cross country programs in the nation such as Wheaton and North Central.  Stacked against massive competition, the men finished 37th and the women finished 39th.

In a meet this gigantic, the Vikings focused on keeping themselves grounded and on beating fellow Midwest Conference (MWC) teams. “We want to be the best team in the Conference at every meet that we’re in,” senior Jordan Atkins said. “We wanted to run hard and also run smart.”

The top finisher for the men’s 8-kilometer race was junior Max Edwards who finished 134th at a time of 26:18. Edwards was followed by freshman Josh Janusiak in 161st at 26:29. To give a sense of the scale of this meet, 26 runners finished in the 11 second gap between Edwards and Janusiak. Atkins followed Janusiak in 224th with a time of 27:03, and then came freshman Ben Schaefer in 234th at 27:31, with senior Cam Davies rounding out the top five in 255th with a time of 27:31.

The women were led by senior Clare Bruning whose time of 23:49 during the 6-kilometer race was good enough for 176th place. The rest of the top finishing women included sophomore Erin Schrobilgen in 191st with a time of 23:57, senior Liz Landes in 211th with 24:10, sophomore Margaret Huck in 224th with 24:17 and senior Cora Williams in 244th with 24:40.

Coming up, the Vikings continue to focus all of their training on the Conference meet. “All our thoughts are on Conference,” said Atkins. “We’re not trying to get too up or down about any one thing and take care of business.” Both the women’s team and the men’s team have the potential to take home the conference title. The pack running in both teams has been strong and the top six have been consistent for the entire season.

Taper training is in full swing for the team as practices focus less on heavy mileage and more on speed. The runners are also making sure to stay healthy especially as the difficult end of the term approaches. “We are focusing on our personal health, it’s the only thing that can stop us from ourselves,” said sophomore Ethan Gniot. The Vikings do not have a race next weekend, giving them more time to rest and prepare for the championship meets ahead. The Conference meet will be on Oct. 31.