The University of Indianapolis men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, Oct. 4, in a meet that featured competition representing several schools, including programs from NCAA Division I.
The Greyhounds’ men’s team competed in an 8k race at the event, finishing 14th out of 42 teams who competed. UIndy was led in the race by junior Joel Keller, who finished 20th after crossing the line at 25:20.57.
For the women team in its 5k race, the Greyhounds placed 30th of 33 teams. Leading the way for UIndy was senior Jacklyn Howland, who was the 115th runner that crossed the line in a total time of 18:26.73.
Junior Haley Havert followed soon after for the Greyhounds, as the 148th runner to cross the line at 18:43.77, while junior Jasmine Al-Anzi came in at 169th with a time of 18:54.75.
According to Assistant Cross Country Coach Sutton Knapp, this specific meet was eagerly anticipated not only because of the upper-level opponents, but also because of the opportunity to compete against rivals from the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Knapp said that both teams are striving to place within the top two of the GLVC, and that the Greater Louisville Classic was the prime opportunity to preview their progress and see how they compare to other conference foes.
Assistant Cross Country Coach Vincent Georgescu said that the classic would provide both UIndy teams with an opportunity improve.
“It [the Greater Louisville Classic] is a relatively flat and fast course,” he said. “If people want to get good times, that would be the place to do it.”
Prior to the meet, junior Mark Shannahan of the men’s team said that the classic provides great exposure to different competition. “It is great for every single person to experience what it is like to run against some big name Division I schools,” he said.
Looking back on a pair of second-place finishes by both teams on Friday, Sept. 19, at the Indiana Intercollegiate meet, Knapp said that the Greyhounds were encouraged. Even though they did not come out on top at their previous meet, she said that both teams were impressed by their performance, and that it is something they hope to continue carrying over into future meets.
Havert said that she has especially felt an additional boost of confidence. Due to a change in summer work-out plans, Havert said that she has improved as a runner.
“I feel like I’m actually competing now,” she said. “I have done fine in the past, but this year I feel like I’m getting somewhere by placing at all the meets, which is something I have not done before.”
Georgescu also expressed optimism, saying that he has been impressed with this year’s freshman class. Both the men’s and women’s teams have new faces this season that have been producing fast times, showing the growth of the program.
“The program has definitely come a long way since my freshman year,” Shannahan said. “The freshman class already has made some big improvements.”
According to Georgescu, veteran runners also have produced well this season.
“Everyone else started in a good place,” he said. “They are picking up where they left off.”
According to Knapp, the Greyhounds have not settled, however, and they are constantly seeking improvement. Prior to last Saturday, Knapp said that the team planned to use the results of the Greater Louisville Classic to see where they needed to go from that point.
The Greyhounds will compete again on Saturday, Oct. 25, when they travel to the University of Southern Indiana for the USI Regional Preview, with a start time yet to be determined.