Both earning 2nd place, the University of Indianapolis men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. to compete in the Indiana Intercollegiate Championship on Sept. 15. The women competed against 13 schools and and the men competed against 14 schools.
Freshmen Jacob Woodrow and Adam Russell were the only Hounds on the men’s side to place in the top 15. Woodrow placed 10th with a time of 27:22.8 and Russell at 14th with a time of 27:54.2. Junior Taylor Kleyn followed close behind in 16th place in 28:01.8.
Three runners on the women’s side picked up top 10 finishes. Freshman Lauren Bailey lead the team, taking the 5th place slot in 24:40.6. Senior Samantha Holmes followed with a 7th place position with a time of 25:12.0. Junior Sarah Burch picked up the last top 10 spot for the Hounds, and her first top 10 of the season, in 9th place with a time of 25:18.9.
After earning 2nd last season, the women defended their 2nd place title, while the men moved up from the 6th place ranking that they earned in the 2016 race. Holmes, who moved up from 17th place in this meet in 2016 to 7th this season said that this outcome for the teams shows that they have improved over last year and will continue to grow over the season.
“I think it was a really big deal that we both got 2nd place. Especially since the conditions were really bad. It was really, really hot, it was a tough course. All the little state courses are true cross country courses, so it was rough,” Holmes said. “But I think it does speak to the fact that we stayed motivated as a team and as individuals and I think that will help us go really far this year.”
Despite improving over last year, the men returned to their 2nd place status that they earned multiple year in the past. Senior Matt Egan has now experienced three of these 2nd place spots.
“For the guys team it was pretty bittersweet because we got 6th last year when we had a down year, then we get second [this year], which we got my freshman, sophomore and now senior year,” Eagan said. “So all of the young guys were like ‘oh we got second,’ but we’ve gotten second in past years. We’ve shown big improvements and the team that beat us just had a phenomenal day.”
Overall, Head Cross Country Coach Brad Robinson said that he was proud of the teams and their ability to compete in the hot weather conditions. Coaching both men’s and women’s, he said that the eight female runners versus 18 male runners causes him to be more cautious with the women. He is more delicate in case of injury, since they have a much smaller team.
“So for the ladies we did set out our top runner just to be cautious with injuries. We felt pretty confident, had she ran the race and we not taken the risk, we probably would’ve won the team title. We are at the point where we are right on par with what we are trying to achieve team-wise for the ladies,” Robinson said.
The men’s team was rebuilding much of last season. This year, the team has improved greatly, despite still being young. Many of the young runners are coming out strong, and are placing much higher, according to Egan.
Robinson agreed that the men competed well in this meet, especially being a younger team.
“The gentlemen, for about half of our team, it was their first big race ever,” Robinson said. “So that was big, they handled it well, they listened to instructions and were disciplined and patient, the best that they could. It was extremely hot, so we didn’t talk too much about times in the end, but just how competitive they were and how alert they were of other runners and the ability to get around them before crossing the finish line. They did a good job of this on both sides.”
The Hounds will next travel to Louisville, Ky. to participate in the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 30.