Cross country takes major wins at home, places lower away

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The PNW Fall 5K Classic featured Jennifer Crague, freshman, taking first place with a time of 20:35 on Sept. 8.

The win contributed to the team taking first place overall with a total of 26 points for their second meet in the season. The men’s team finished in second place with 30 points, and Salvador Cordova, senior, took first place with a time of 26:59. The meet was hosted at home in Westville.

Crague said her win was a pleasure.

“Finishing first in anything feels good,” Crague said. “Placing first individually and as a team really shows how hard we worked this summer.”

Crague said the overall win was a team effort. This was the first time the women’s team had taken an overall first place in PNW history.

“Our main goal was to run a teammate as long as we could and really help each other get through the race, and we did that really well at the meet.”

Austin Warner, men and women’s cross country head coach, said he was confident the teams would do well going into the meet.

“Over half of the team ran a personal best in our previous race and they looked very strong in workouts leading up into the race. However, we did know that the other teams in the race improved a lot and were aiming for the team win as well,” Warner said.

Warner said some of the teams’ strategies to win were focusing on pack-running.

“Another strategy we used was to focus on staying relaxed in the first few miles and focusing on catching a few competitors in the last part of the race which I thought both teams did well on. I think this strategy was a big reason why the women were able to win the title and hopefully more down the road,” Warner said.
Both teams competed in the Indiana Intercollegiate Championships on Sept. 15 in West Lafayette with the women’s team taking ninth place and men’s taking 11th place.

Crague said the move to Division II was a big step up but she believes the team is ready for it. Warner agreed.

“The team’s performances at our home meet certainly was a step in the right direction for our program and if we continue to work hard on a daily basis at practice, we will be ready to compete at our best when it matters most in October at the GLIAC Championships,” Warner said.

The cross country’s next meet is in Beloit, Wisconsin, for the Olde English Classic on Sept. 23.