The GU Men’s Cross Country team traveled to Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois to compete at the Wheaton Gil Dodds Invitational. Here they competed against two of the top ten ranked men cross country teams in Division 3; number one, North Central and number seven, Washington University. They also competed against Cornell College, nineteenth in the nation and number twenty-two, the University of Chicago. The tough competition didn’t stop the men’s cross country team from competing to the best of their ability. The top finisher for Greenville was Senior, John Mangold coming in 40th place in of 26:24. Junior, Dylan Goodyear finished in 55th place with a time of 26:45. Goodyear states, “I wanted to get out in the beginning and try to keep a steady pace. Near the end of the race, I mentally started to wear out, but continued to push through the heat and exhaustion.” Then rounding out the top three Freshman, Ayden Nichols came in at 97th place with a personal best time of 27:40 for his first eight-kilometer (8k) course to round out the top three placers for the Men’s Cross Country team.
Though most people that are not fans of cross country will think these performances are stellar, it is important to know that they are running against 245 other runners. The other performances that scored points for the men’s cross country team came from Junior, Dylon Niswonger placing 113th with a time of 28:31 and Freshman, Kaleb Carlson placing 153rd with a time of 28:57 which is a Personal Best on an 8k course. The final two scoring spots came down to Junior, Noah Dir placing 166th with a time of 29:15 and coming in 181st Sophmore, Colin Kessinger running a time of 29:49. Kessinger stated, “I personally had a rough race this past weekend. I historically don’t run well at the beginning of the season and especially in the heat. Running is all about knowing your body and I’m confident that I will be in a good position come conference.” To put more of an emphasis behind the times, the men’s cross country team ran on an 8k course which calculates to 4.97 miles. Though the times were not the athlete’s fastest times, they competed to the best of their abilities this past Saturday the 15th.
The slower times for almost all the runners can be blamed on the hot weather. To get a better picture of the weather conditions, almost every runner on the team ran at least two minutes or slower than what their personal record is for an 8k course. But to get the athletes side of how the meet went, I’ve gotten quotes from Goodyear and Kessinger. Goodyear felt, “There was great competition for the team to race well. Unfortunately, the weather was hot and not ideal for racing. As a team, we did what we could and there is only room for improvement. In order to be good, you have to push through all the obstacles that can prevent you from having a good race.” Kesinger feels, “The team is in a very good spot for this point in the season. With this being our first 8k of the year, everyone is still finding their rhythm. We will improve greatly with more race experience and when the colder weather comes.”
For the team, it was a learning experience to work through the heat and run to the best of their abilities. But for the men’s cross country team, this meet is an early season race to get out of the way to allow them to run faster later in the season when the weather starts to cool down. The men’s team is focused on improving their times and look forward to a great season ahead.
If you want to cheer on the men’s cross country team, come out to their meet on September 28th at the H.W. Wright Classic in Decatur, Illinois.