In a meet that boasted several top-ranked teams, the CSU women’s cross country team proved that they can stick with the best of them by placing fourth Saturday at the Bill Dellinger Invitational meet hosted by the University of Oregon.
The Rams finished only five points behind No. 4 Arkansas, who was second and two points behind Washington, who is ranked 17th and placed third. The team also placed ahead Georgia and BYU, who are ranked 15th and 18th in the nation, respectively.
“We beat a couple of high-ranked teams, which is good,” coach Bryan Berryhill said. “Beating BYU was a good victory.”
April Thomas, who has consistently led the women’s team, finished the 6,000-meter course fourth in a field of 141 runners.
“I think I raced pretty well,” Thomas said. “I tried to stay as close to the leaders as I could.”
Thomas’ 20:27 finish was her fastest race to date.
Knowing that her team finished ahead of several ranked teams was encouraging for Thomas.
“It is a good feeling to say we were two points away from second,” she said.
Heather Loseke, who has also helped the Rams to several top finishes, crossed the line in 20:38, which placed her ninth overall.
The men’s team, who is young and inconsistent, placed 11th out of 15 teams.
“The guys didn’t really step up to the occasion,” said Berryhill.
The top runner for the Rams was Jeremy Freed, who finished the 8,000-meter course in 19th place with a time of 23:55.
It has been a struggle for every member of the men’s team to be consistent at the same race.
“We have yet to put five guys on the same page on the same day,” Berryhill said.
The Rams have two weeks before they head to Indiana for pre-nationals on Oct. 13. During that time, the team will continue doing intense training while keeping their mileage up, Berryhill said.
“We’ll just keep getting out there, having good practices, staying healthy and keep doing it right,” Thomas said.
Cross country beat reporter Anica Wong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org