The University of Indianapolis’ Cross Country teams finished their season at the NCAA Division II Regionals in Cedarville, Ohio on Nov. 4. The women’s team placed 16th out of 28 teams and the men’s team placed 15th out of 28 teams.
According to Head Cross Country Coach Brad Robinson, this past season was a successful year for both teams. He said that the teams were improving at every meet and that regionals was the benchmark and they use that meet to compare to the rest of their season.
“The gentlemen improved nineteen placements from the year before, with only one guy actually returning, so the top seven we ran at Regionals this year, even though we returned a lot of guys,” Robinson said. “One guy was still competing [from the year before], [so] we had that many new faces into the mix.”
Robinson said that the men’s team had moved their spot down nine places, reducing their team’s score by 200 points to around 450 points, compared to around 650 points last season. In Cross Country, the team having the lowest score wins, according to Robinson.
Senior Casey Wendorff said that this season was an improvement compared to last season and that Regionals was a major improvement for the team. This was Wendorff’s last meet of his college career and he placed 71st individually, setting a new personal record of 33:25.2. Wendorff said that he is happy with the way his final season went when he considered how he was when he first started cross country.
“I started out back in eighth grade…I wasn’t very fast at all and I didn’t think I was going to be that great,” Wendorff said. “Even coming [to UIndy], I thought that I was towards the bottom of the class that came in, so…being able to reach [my] full potential, and even pass [it by], …is very great.”
Wendorff said that now that his final season is over that he would miss his team. He said that the night before a meet, they would all go to a hotel and hangout. He also said that he will miss the team huddles and the sense of camaraderie that he has with his team.
“One of our guys [was] jumping up and down in the middle of the huddle and screaming his lungs off. You won’t get that anywhere else,” Wendorff said.
The women’s team improved three spots compared to last year. Robinson said that the women’s team did this despite several challenges that came up during the season.
“The ladies…had a very thin squad this year…so when somebody was sick, injured or banged up, it started to leave a hole pretty quickly for the ladies to step up,” Robinson said. “Considering some of the injuries we battled through, with people redshirting and some people sitting out, the fact they improved three spots over last year, and rose to the occasion was very, very impressive.”
Robinson said that the women’s team as a whole was able to lower the score by around a hundred points at regionals.
Junior Sarah Burch said that this improvement was good for the women’s team. Burch finished in 120th place for the women’s team, with a personal record time of 24:31.3, placing her in the top five for the women’s team. Burch said that she is excited to have another year to run and try to improve.
“I’m a little sad…just knowing that it’s my last year, because…I’ve been running since sixth grade, so it will be sad, but I am going to go into it with the best attitude and give [it] everything I have,” Burch said. “It is what you make it, so [I’m] just going [to go] in with that mindset.”
Robinson said that for next year, both the men’s and women’s teams are going to be motivated to try to improve their rankings and that goal for both teams is the top ten. Robinson said that, although it is still too early for this to be the game plan for next year, that the teams are going to try to continue to ride the momentum from this past season to accomplish this goal and that he hopes that it will be able to challenge the teams.