The times just keep dropping. Running last Saturday in the Gene Davis Invitational, the women’s cross-country team made huge progress at the Vikings’ only home meet of the season. The entire team had season personal bests, including a huge drop from freshman Jacci Cuff.
The Vikings finished fourth as a team with senior standout Emily Muhs leading the way, covering the 6000m course in 24:10 and finishing third. Freshman Maggie Mahaffa and sophomore Anna Ratliff also had stellar races, coming through in 25:46 and 26:11 respectively, each dropping close to half a minute off her personal best. Senior Rosie Graber didn’t quite run the time she was hoping for, but even she dropped some time off her season best.
But the most impressive race of the day came from Jaclyn Cuff, who was in the scoring five for the Vikings for her first time ever. Running nearly a minute faster than in previous weeks, Cuff noted, “it felt great to run that fast at the home meet.”
Having dealt with minor injuries in the earlier races of the season, Cuff was glad to be running at full strength again: “I had been having problems with side aches the past two meets. Coach told me it was because I was over thinking my races and psyching myself out. So I just let all of that go and ran, and my time shows it.” A healthy — both mentally and physically — athlete Cuff will add one more runner to the already strong front-pack.
Unfortunately, the men’s team didn’t enjoy the same kind of success that the woman’s team did. Finishing a disappointing fourth overall, the Vikings are keeping this race in perspective. “While this was our home meet,” stated senior Sam Estrem, “the only meet that really matters is conference.”
Estrem ran well and finished third on the team with a time of 27:55 for 8000 m. Leading the way for the Vikings was once again was junior Sam Stevens who finished in 26:54. Following him was sophomore Curran Carlile (27:48) and Estrem. Finishing out the scoring for the Vikings were senior Tom Coben and freshman Kyle Dockery, who ran 28:29 and 28:44 respectively. Notably, freshman standout Pat Mangan did not finish due to debilitating shin splints. The Viking men are looking forward to next week’s race to redeem themselves.
Despite having varying amounts of success on the course, the Vikings really enjoyed running at their home meet and the support they received. “I had a host of friends cheering me on,” said Estrem, “many of who had never seen me run before.” Cuff also enjoyed the parental support at the home meet. Describing how it felt to see her family there, she simply said, “It was awesome.”
The Vikings run next Saturday in the Brooks Invitational at UW-Oshkosh.