MILWAUKEE – Competing in the Midwest region for cross country is tough.
Traditionally, the Midwest has been the most difficult of the nation's eight regions and 2017 is no different as both genders claimed three of the nation's 16 at-large team bids to the NCAA Championships.
For the MSOE men's and women's cross country teams, the regional championships are the perfect mix of high-level competition and the culmination of a season's worth of work. The effort builds to this point and, last weekend, the Raiders out-did themselves.
Thirteen of the team's 14 men and women running at the meet posted personal records, including by an average of 1:22 for the six women's PRs. What's more, junior Patty Bray broke the program's record for a 6,000m race and two men ran under 26-minutes.
For Bray, it was a nice bounce-back from the league championships two weeks ago where an injury hampered her finish. Last Saturday, she regained her place leading the Raider women and turned in a time of 23:16. That eclipsed her personal-best, which had been fourth in school history, by 1:38. It also edged the previous mark by eight seconds.
Senior Alex Muench also cracked the team's top-five with a time of 24:30, which is 1:11 better than she had ever run for the Red & White.
Freshmen Caro Quintero (1:11) and Lexi Maruga (1:07) each knocked over a minute off their best times this season, while freshman Jenny Leonard trumped them all in the No. 5 scoring position with a PR of 2:10. Junior Samantha Brooker added a 56-second PR to cap it off.
All told, the Raiders had an average time of 25:04, which is 1:40 better than its previous best team time this season.
For the men, 26 minutes has been a goal for some time. We cover the pursuit of a sub-26-minute 8K earlier this season as sophomore Nick Bath approached the milestone.
Last weekend, his time came as he ran 25:36.6 to lead the men's team. He set a sophomore record and became the sixth Raider run under 26 minutes. Senior Trey Horbinski, who had also accomplished the feat as a sophomore in 2015, lowered his standing on the list by 14 seconds at 25:44.
All seven men's runners at meet set personal records for MSOE and posted a season-best team average of 26:21. That was 26 seconds better than the group averaged in winning the Wisconsin Private College Championships Oct. 14.
For the five seniors running their final collegiate race, it was going out on top, even if a national championship bid was not in the cards. The excitement does build, though, for the nine runners expected to return in 2018. If the hard work is there, the regionals will provide the opportunity to see that hard work pay off.
Elsewhere Around MSOE Athletics…
- Hockey went 2-0 last weekend, scoring league wins over Northland 5-3 and St. Scholastica 4-1.
- Wrestling opened the 2017-18 season at the Dan Gable Open with Helton Vandenbush won the 174-pound bracket in his collegiate debut. Another freshman, Drew Matticks, also made the first-place match in his first collegiate match at 165 pounds.
Coming Up This Week...
- Wrestling heads to the Concordia Wisconsin Open Saturday.
- Men's Basketball and Women's Basketball each open the 2017-18 season as part of a doubleheader Saturday at the Kern Center.
|Saturday||Wrestling||@ Concordia Wisconsin Open||9:00 AM|
|Saturday||Men's Basketball||Lawrence||4:00 PM||Video | Live stats|
|Saturday||Women's Basketball||Elmhurst||6:00 PM||Video | Live stats|
|* Conference Contest | Home Contests in BOLD|