On the road with the cross country team

On the day of a meet for a cross country team, there is much more than simply showing up and running in circles a few times.

Starting at a bright and early time of 7:30 a.m., the bus promptly takes off just after half of the men’s team gets on after running out of one of the dorms. The quietest whispers can be heard at any point of the bus since half of the runners are sleeping in iPod-induced comas and the other half are slowing eating their breakfast in an “it’s too early to be up” haze. At the very front of the bus, head coach Travis Olson and assistant coach Greg Mitchell are talking in hushed tones, as not to disturb the sleeping team, about the course, different teams and training facilities to pass the time. After a couple of detours through the back roads of Oregon and a small race against the George Fox bus to get a good parking spot, the team arrived at the race a couple of hours before the race.

As if awoken from a spell by the sound of the bus stopping the whole team started talking and walking around outside while the coaches went to check the team in at the main tent. All the teams stayed in their buses to escape the 50-degree weather and sporadically sprinkling rain. A couple of minutes later, Mitchell starts handing out everyone’s numbers with pins. This instantly seems to get everyone ready for the race ahead of them. While they put them on, individual traditions start to show like pre-crinkling the number before they pin it or the number 63. With a pumped up attitude the men’s team heads out of the bus to start warming up.

After the men’s team works out for about 15 minutes, in what looks like a big version of follow the leader around the park, they enter the start area. The crowd fills one side of the lane completely with their cameras out waiting for the race to start, which happens suddenly with a “Set” and a gunshot.

The men’s 8k was off and the crowd ran to the other opposite side to see them run past again. There you could see that senior Joe Gladow was right with the leaders right from the start. It looked like he could of won the whole thing until his glute tightened up at about 1k left in the race.

“I felt pretty good,” Gladow said. “I felt probably the best that I felt so far this season. At the end because of my glute, I kind of fell off a bit, but it was a season best time. I feel good about going forward.”

The guys took a sharp turn down the straight away to the finish line where the final places were recorded. Gladow came in fourth with a time of 25:29.8, sophomore Alex Mangan came in 14 with a time of 26:32.5 and freshman Michael O’Neil came in 17 with a time of 26:37.4. The team overall came in third place out of the six teams.

“I think the guys raced really well today,” Mitchell said. “I feel like last week we had some tired legs and we had some real mixed results. Today was more of a consistent effort and our top group really preformed quite well.”

There was no time for the coaches to talk to the men after they finished, because a couple of seconds after the last runner got into the straightaway, another gun went off and the girls were off on their 5k. The women tried a new strategy this race by staying for the first mile in a large clump weaving around other racers pulling more Linfield runner forward.

“As a team we also did really well,” senior Hannah Greider said. “Last meet we had some people who had really good races and some people that had some pretty bad races. I think overall we had some pretty solid races this meet.”

The women stayed up in the top groups through out the whole race ending in basically the same clump they started in. Greider led the team in second with a time of 18:40.4, followed by senior Sienna Noe in fourth with a time 18:50.4 and junior Madison Trowbridge who got 11 with a time of 19:18.2. Right after the race ended, the women’s team ran over to the announcer to see what they final scores ended up being. School after school was called until second place was called and Linfield hadn’t been announced yet. The team busted out in excitement when they were called as the winners of the woman’s classic.

“I think winning first is really a confidence booster,” Noe said. “I know as a girl’s team sometimes that’s our struggle is just psyching ourselves out and thinking we aren’t going to be good enough, even though we clearly are. We just have to really believe in ourselves. So it helps when we have races like this where we all work as a team and we can see that ‘Yeah we can actually do this.’”

The team gathered in front of the bus in the lot for a standing up lunch filled with fruit, sandwiches and Gatorade. They move in clumps talking about people who fell during the race and racers who elbowed them in the far parts when they tried to pass.

Ending at a bright and sunning time of 12:30 p.m., the team talks loudly about the meet, their hope for the future and what they will do with the rest of their day as the  bus takes off down the road back to McMinnville.

By Stephanie Hofmann/sports editor

Linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com

 

Stephanie Hofmann/Sports editor

Freshman Marisa Kume finishes 14th at the George Fox Invitational with a time of 19:32.1. The team finished with a score of 44, which was two points ahead of the following team Northwest University.

Stephanie Hofmann/Sports editor

The women’s cross country team wins first place overall against seven other teams, landing the wildcats top-five runners in the top 15 places. Senior Hannah Greider earned second, senior Sienna Noe earned fourth, junior Madison Trowbridge earned 11th, senior Katie Skinner earned 13th and freshman Marisa Kume earned 14th.

Stephanie Hofmann/Sports editor

Senior Joe Gladow got fourth place in the men’s 8lk out of 42 runners with a time of 25:42.6. The guys finished with a total score of 72, which was just 10 points away from the team ahead of them. Both teams will be heading to Estacade, Ore. for the Lewis & Clark Invitational at 10 a.m.