Janusiak wins second conference title, breaks records, leads team to fourth place finish

Last Saturday, the Lawrence Cross Country team competed in this year’s Midwest Conference Championships. The meet was hosted by Illinois College in Jacksonville, Ill.

After stellar performances at the Gene Davis invitational, hosted by Lawrence University on Oct. 7 and the Kollege Town invitational, hosted by UW Oshkosh on Oct. 14, both the Men’s and Women’s cross country teams were in the running for excellence at conference. Led by junior Josh Januiak and senior Hannah Kinzer, Lawrence’s top runners so far this season, the Vikings took to the course with high hopes Saturday morning. The meet began at 11 a.m. with the men’s race. At 12 p.m., the women took the course. Following the women’s race, the meet was concluded with an awards ceremony.

The meet was held at The Links golf course. Thanks to dry, cool weather in the days leading up to the meet, the course was firm, a good sign for those in search of a fast time. On the day of the meet, conditions were decent, but far from ideal. At the start of the meet, temperatures were hovering in the mid 30’s, with a light wind over the course. With few trees to provide shelters, runners were at the mercy of the wind. To top it off, as the men’s 8,000 meter race started, a driving snow began to fall, pelting runners and spectators alike.

Despite the somewhat adverse conditions, the men made the most of the day. Janusiak, the favorite to win the race, set the pace early, taking the lead from the very start. Janusiak was closely followed by teammate and sophomore Joe Kortenhof, as well as Grinnell’s John Lennon. In the first two miles of the race, Lennon alone stayed with Janusiak as the two established a commanding lead over the other competitors. As the race continued, Janusiak’s dominance over the field became more apparent. Lennon could not keep pace, dropping back and leaving Janusiak alone in his charge through the race. Ultimately, Janusiak won in a blistering time of 24:58.7, defending his conference championship from a year before. This time set the course record and was the fastest time run in the conference this year. Additionally, Janusiak’s performance was good for the second fastest time in Lawrence cross country history. Janusiak was followed by J. Kortenhof, who placed eight overall in 25:47.9, another all conference finish for the Vikings. Lawrence’s scoring quintet was rounded out by junior Ben Schaefer, freshman Ty Heuer and freshman Cullen Allard, who placed 26th, 58th, and 59th respectively. Senior Teddy Kortenhof, junior Alec Timpe, and sophomore Aaron Arthur made up the remained of the Viking delegation in the race.

In team scoring, the men placed fourth overall, narrowly beat by third place Lake Forest College, second place Grinnell College, and Conference Champion Cornell College. This broke Grinnell’s five-year win streak at the conference meet.

After the conclusion of the men’s race, the women’s 6000 meter race began. The start of the women’s race was no warmer than the men’s, although lacked the blowing snow from an hour before. The Lawrence Vikings wasted no time getting down to business at the start of the race. From the gun, seniors Erin Schrobilgen, Kate Killgus, Hannah Kinzer and Margaret Huck formed a tight pack of Lawrence runners. Freshman Alex Chand, Lawrence’s fifth runner, was not far behind. Working as a team, the pack of Lady Vikes powered through the majority of a race, staying together for most of the firs three miles.

Shortly before the third mile mark, with one mile left in the race, Huck and Kilgus led their teammates in a strong charge towards the finish. The two broke away from the pack, rapidly moving up to improve their standings in the race. Ultimately, Huck was Lawrene’s top finisher, placing 16th overall with a time of 23:13.1. This performance earned Huck her first career all conference medal. Huck was closely followed by Kilgus, Schrobilgen, Kinzer and Chand, who placed 22nd, 26th, 28th, and 38th respectively to complete Lawrence’s scoring. Freshman Alyssa Kuss, junior Molly Doruska and sophomore Christina Sedall made up the rest of Lawrence’s team in the race.

In team scoring, the women tied with Lake Forest College for fifth overall. The tie was broken by comparing the placements of each team’s runners, top finisher to top finisher, second finisher to second finisher, and so on. Lawrence lost this tiebreaker, and thus placed sixth overall.

With conference over, Lawrence Cross Country moves into the postseason. The last race of the season will be the Regional Championships which will be held on Nov. 11th in Rock Island, Ill. Wish your Lawrence Vikings well as they enter the final stage of their season.