In a meet so large that two women’s six-kilometer races were run, CSU’s own cross country team placed sixth at the Pre-Nationals meet in Terre Haute, Ind., Saturday.
“We ran solid,” coach Bryan Berryhill said.
Stanford University won the women’s “Blue” race, in which CSU ran, while Princeton won the “White” race. Each race had approximately 38 teams and 250 runners competing.
The course, which runner Allison Gohl tapped as a “good cross country course with some rolling hills and lumpy grass,” allowed the Rams to gain a little bit of a foothold on the competition that they might see later on during the year at the NCAA Championships.
“We beat some really good teams and earned some points,” Berryhill said.
April Thomas, the Rams’ No. 1 runner, finished 21st with a time of 20:48 but did experience some foot pain during the race.
“We will alter her training in the next couple of weeks,” Berryhill said.
Thomas has paved the way for the women’s team this year, finishing near the front of the pack, if not winning, every race she has run.
The Rams’ second runner, Heather Loseke, finished four places behind Thomas in 25th, crossing the finish line in 20:53. Last year, Loseke placed in the 90s. Her large improvement during the past year has been lauded by her coach, but she would rather focus on her team’s performance.
“I don’t ever think of us as individuals,” Loseke said. “The better you do, the better you do as a team.”
Gohl was the third runner for the Rams in 54th place with a time of 21:16, followed closely by Kristen Hemphill and Kirsten Anthony in 55th and 61st places, respectively.
The meet was very valuable for Gohl, a freshman who had never run in a race of this magnitude.
“I learned a lot about how to race at this level,” she said.
Both the women’s and men’s teams will now focus on the Mountain West Conference Championships, which will be held in San Diego on Oct. 27.
The women have set their sights on a championship, which means they will have to beat Brigham Young University, who took the title last year.
“We want to be conference champs,” Loseke said. “We need to do whatever we can to beat BYU.”
Brigham Young also competed on Saturday and finished sixth in their “White” race.
Cross country beat reporter Anica Wong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org