Cross country starts the season strong

The men’s and women’s cross country teams are off to a strong start in the 2016 season. After a good showing at the Tom Barry Invitation last weekend, the teams headed to University of Concordia-Wisconsin’s Ked Weidt Classic. While the conditions were less than ideal, featuring rain, wind and at times a muddy course, the Vikings ran tough and turned in some solid performances. In a race that featured 13 women’s teams and 11 men’s teams, the Vikings finished 3rd and 4th respectively.

The men’s team placed two in the top five as sophomore Josh Janusiak finished second covering the 8 kilometer course in 26:33. Freshman Joe Kortenhof was not far behind him at 27:13, good enough for fifth place. Behind them was a pack of Viking runners rounding out the top finishers for the team comprised of sophomore Ben Shaefer in 20th at 28:08, junior Ethan Gniot in 27th at 28:17 and sophomore Alec Timpe in 33rd and 28:32.

The women were led by a duo of juniors finishing in the top ten. Erin Schorbilgen finished 5th with a 6 kilometer time of 24:18 while Hannah Kinzer finished 10th at 24:57. Behind them was another tight pack of Viking runners of junior Margaret Huck in 19th at 25:25, freshman Christina Sedall in 22nd at 25:38 and senior Amy Hutchings in 24th at 25:49.

Both teams were able to execute the race strategy of using packs to move up. “Our team is doing really well this year with working together, working in packs, working off each other and using each other as support” says senior Kate Kilgus. The support of teammates makes the goal of any competitive racer “just trying to work up, passing one girl at a time” easier describes Kilgus.

However, despite the great start, the Vikings know that success at the beginning of the season does not automatically mean success at the end of the season when it really counts, at the conference meet. “Our coach [Coach Fast] has talked about [how] we have a lot to work on to get where we want to be but I think this team, we’re going to change a lot between now and conference” explains Kilgus. However, Kilgus is optimistic about the rest of the season stating “everyone on this team is going to work really hard and has the potential to run really fast.”

Look for some fast times from the Vikings over the upcoming weeks as their next meet is known for producing some of the athlete’s best times. After a week off from competition next weekend they will travel down to Rock Island, Illinois for the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational hosted by Augustana College.