The cross country teams competed in the Northwest Conference Championships meet on Nov. 2 in Spokane, Wash.
The men’s team ended the race fifth out of nine conference school runners. Leading the Wildcats was freshman Michael O’Neil, who finished 11th with a time of 25:45.16, just over a minute slower than the leader of the pack from Willamette University. Following O’Neil, sophomore Alex Mangan finished 14th with a time of 25:49.21 and Junior Calvin Howell ended in 22th with a time of 26:12.26. The team finished with a total amount of points of 128.
“I think that this meet shows that we’re resilient as a team and should be optimistic for the future,” Mangan said in an email. “There were a lot of underclassmen and juniors that stepped up. Hopefully we can use this race as a springboard to motivate us for next season.”
The team leaders of this season, Howell and senior Joe Gladow have been working with injuries for the past couple of weeks. They now have two weeks until the regional meet in California to get back in shape and be ready to run at the top of their game.
“I believe we had a shot at winning the conference title this year, we were just a little too banged up and injured so it didn’t happen,” Howell said in an email. “Cross Country is different from any other sport, there is no tournament or season to decide where you finish in the conference. We have 8000 meters to decide how good we are and sometimes we’ll have an off day and not perform to our capabilities.”
The women’s team ended the race fourth out of the nice schools there at the meet. Leading the girls was senior Hannah Greider who finished 11th with a time of 23:00.58. Following her was senior Sienna Noe who ended in 13th with a time of 23:03.32 and senior Katie Skinner who finished 16th with a time of 23:12.14.
“This weekend I think we all put in our best efforts, and you can’t ask for more than that,” Greider said in an email. “However, while the team didn’t have a bad day we also didn’t have a great day, and if everyone had been feeling their best I think we could have taken the title, so getting fourth place was a bit of a disappointment, though nothing to be ashamed of.”
The teams will head to the NCAA Division III West Regionals race in two weeks on Nov. 16 in Claremont, Calif.
“I really hope that our team realized from the meet that we can be conference champions,” head coach Travis Olson said in an email. “As coaches we preach it all the time, when you toe the line you should feel like we are going to win as a team and I think they did that in Spokane. We have created a great atmosphere but need to continue to try and get better as a whole, which I have no doubt we will.”
Stephanie Hofmann/ Sports editor