The University of Indianapolis men and women’s cross country teams travelled to Purdue University on Friday, Sept. 19 to compete at the Little State competition at the Indiana Intercollegiates.
The men, who placed second to Wabash College, were led by senior Kameron Casey who finished second overall in the 8k with a time of 26.09.5. Junior Joel Keller followed right after with a time of 26.15.3 for a third place finish.
The women’s team also placed second, falling only to Taylor University. Senior Jacklyn Howland led the Greyhounds with a third place finish time of 18:12.4 in the 5k. Junior Haley Havert finished fifth with a time of 18:24.4 and freshman Kieran Casey made the top ten with an eighth place finish at 18.34.4.
Prior to traveling to West Lafayette, Howland said that the team prepared for the meet through mental preparation, training and practice. According to Howland, the Greyhounds’ goal for the event was to be a frontrunner and to try to be the small school that competed with the bigger schools there.
Head Cross Country Coach Kathy Casey agreed that both the men and women needed to compete to their best abilities against the bigger programs at the event, saying that the team would approach “the meet by treating the meet like it was a championship event.”
With the season still young, Howland said she is expecting the best year for herself as a Greyhound. Keeping an eye out for personal goals, she also is hoping for success overall as a team, which she said is quite possible.
“Running at nationals is a dream, but with everyone on the team right now, the team could potentially have its best year,” she said.
While running at nationals may be a goal of Howland’s this season, senior Alex Cushman, on the men’s team, already has been there, reaching that level last season. He is sitting out this year as a non-injury related redshirt, in hopes of returning to the championships again next year. According to Cushman, he is hoping the extra year will make him better for next season, when he can compete again.
Being a year away from competition, Cushman is maintaining a significant role on the team by working with and cheering on his teammates. Like Howland, Cushman said he believes the team is capable of finding success this season.
“A lot of people are stepping up, and we still have a really good chance at going to nationals this year,” he said.
Casey also believes in her team’s ability this season. She said there is a lot of talent but they also must focus it in the right direction.
“We need to make sure the team knows what its duties are, make sure the team doesn’t start slacking, and make sure that they push each other,” Casey said.
The Greyhounds will compete next at the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 4, with a starting time yet to be announced.