The University of Indianapolis men’s and women’s cross country team traveled to Lewis University to compete in the Lewis Conference Cross-over on Saturday, Oct. 10. The men placed 3rd out of 10, and the women 4th out of 11. Before that, the teams traveled south to Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 3 to take part in the Greater Louisville Classic.
At the Cross-over, senior Alex Cushman finished 2nd overall with a time of 24:11.10. Fellow senior Kameron Casey was the second Greyhound to finish, and he completed the race with a time of 25:15.37.
Sophomore Kieran Casey led the women at the Cross-over as she finished 6th overall with a time of 22:13.20. Also finishing in the top 15 was senior Emily Odle in 11th (22:25.03) and senior Jasmine Al-Anzi in 13th (22:31.56).
At the Greater Louisville Classic the men placed 7th out of the 36 team field, and the women 28th out of 30. Each field was made up of various Division I, II, III and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics schools.
For the men, Cushman was the lone Greyhound in the Gold race. He placed 22nd overall with a time of 24:29.57 and was the second Division II runner to finish in the 8K. Head Cross Country Coach Kathy Casey said that these Gold races can have upwards of 300 people, so sometimes it can be difficult to tell the significance of the race without being there.
In the Blue race, Kameron placed 13th with a time of 25:10.94 and was followed by fellow senior Joel Keller placing 49th with a time of 25:56.32. Junior Brandon Smith followed close behind his fellow Greyhounds with a time of 26:00.61.
Keller felt like the Louisville meet would be important to their season.
“This weekend is going to be a big one, just because it’s a really fast course and has good competition,” he said.
For the women, sophomore Kieran placed 102nd with a time of 18:08.73. Behind her was Al-Anzi, who placed 146th with a time of 18:30.35. Coach Casey said that the women raced in the Gold race, which is the top race at the Louisville meet and has the best Division I and II schools. Kieran feels that Louisville is important to the season because the women race against larger schools.
“Louisville [is] a really big race. A lot of DI schools come in, and we get to go against [University of] Wisconsin-Parkside, and Bellarmine [University] and USI [University of Southern Indiana], and those are all people from our conference,” Kieran said. “It’s a good place to see where we’re at [compared to other teams]. And Louisville is also the halfway point of the season.”
Keller’s goal is to see both teams make it to nationals this year.
“My goals are just for the teams to just make it to nationals and place well when we get there, [and] not just be happy to be there,” Keller said.
The men will have to place in the top five teams at regionals to continue on to nationals this year. Coach Casey explained that for the women there are six spots open for the region this year, so the women will need to place in the top six teams at regionals to move on.
“There are some really good teams in there like Hillsdale [College], and Grand Valley [State University] and Lewis [University], which usually take up those top spots so we’re hoping to be in that mix too,” she said.
To achieve these goals, the team has been working hard, Coach Casey said, working on their running but also on other things to help them improve.
“They’re doing a nice job of listening to me as far as working on staying in a pack, closing gaps between runners one through five and staying with their mileage,” she said. “They’re expected to lift weights and do core. They have cross training. And they’re going to swim and have hip drills. There are just a lot of ancillary type things that they have to add.”
As well as working to improve their skills, Coach Casey also likes to keep the team motivated.
“I’m very positive,” she said. “I make connections through life experiences because I was a top runner … but also just individually, making sure they know how good they are. That I get that rapport with them, that I know them well enough, that basically I know kind of what makes them tick and [how] to use that to hopefully make them feel like they can.”
The men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship on Oct. 24, in Kenosha, Wis.