For the second consecutive weekend the running Rams of CSU cross country failed to meet expectations. This time, however, they exceeded them.
With senior Austin Vigil – who finished third in the eight-kilometer race with a time of 24 minutes and 36.4 seconds – leading the pack, the13th-ranked men’s team cruised to victory Saturday at the Indiana State Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., beating 12th ranked Butler University and 6th ranked Villanova in the process.
Martin Fedmowski of Butler won the race with a time of 24:26.8, while leading his team to a third overall finish and 118 points.
But it was not enough to defeat the Rams, who scored 58 points while placing their top five finishers among the first 17 and top six among the first 23.
“Coach (Del) Hessel said he wanted us to have five guys in the top 35,” said junior Dylan Olchin, who finished ninth overall recording a time of 24:49.9, “I guess we did better than he expected.”
The university of Indiana, led by John and Sean Jefferson’s fourth and fifth place finishes, finished second overall with 83 points, 25 behind the Rams.
Rounding out the Rams’ top seven were junior Bill Michel (14, 25:01.8), sophomore Josh Glabb (15, 25:02.4), senior Raegan Robb (17, 25:06.6), senior Ammon Larsen (23, 25:12.6) and freshman Matt Cianciulli (44, 25:34.2).
With all seven of the teams’ runners racing up to their capabilities the Rams were able to pull away during the race en route to their first major victory of the season, Olchin said. Bill (Michel) had a bad race in North Carolina, but this weekend he raced like he should and that allowed us to beat Butler,” Olchin said. “Everyone ran well, and when everyone runs as good as they can we are a tough team to beat.”
On the women’s side, the Rams also managed to exceed expectations while finishing fourth overall with 102 points.
Andreina Byrd of the University of Arkansas won the six-kilometer race with a time of 20:50.1, while leading her team to 45 points and the team title. The University of Michigan (74 points) and the University of Villanova (75) finished second and third respectively.
For the Rams, it was senior Jen Kintzley who once again led the pack with a 10th place finish and a time of 21:46.2. Following Kintzley were seniors Kim Watson (16, 21:53.8), Kim Leal (17, 21:56.6) and Meg Larson (25, 22:06.7), junior Katie Yemm (35, 22:24.8), sophomore Colleen Blair (39, 22:30.6) and senior Mary Ridder (49, 22:44.8) to round out the team’s top seven.
Though they were unable to beat the three teams ranked in front of them, the Rams did manage to avoid hurting themselves in the point standings by not losing to any teams ranked below them, Larson said.
“We were hoping to place a little better to get some more points in the standings,” Larson said. “But we didn’t hurt ourselves either and we all placed where coach Hessel wanted us.”
With the course at Terre Haute being the same as the one the Rams will see at nationals, Larson said running a good, competitive race Saturday left the team with a lot of confidence.
“To be on the championship course and run well left a good taste in our mouths,” she said.
Both teams now face a long layoff from racing, as neither will compete until the Mountain West Conference championship meet in Provo, Utah on Nov. 1.
However, athletes from both sides said the layoff should not affect the teams.
“Mentally the layoff should not do anything to us,” Olchin said. “It gives us a break from racing and gives us a chance to train for a month with some intense workouts. I don’t think we’ll lose focus; we’ll just be looking forward to our next race.”