Bears place high against Division I opponents
“It was 68 degrees, sunny, and beautiful,” said Coach Stiles. Such were the conditions when the Bears cross country team traveled to Charleston, Ill. this weekend to compete at the EIU Panther Open.
The men’s team placed second out of eight teams, defeated only by a Division I school. This performance will significantly elevate their national ranking of 29th.
Sophomore Greg Reindl led the men’s team with a time of 25:08.85 and 6th place finish in the 8K (approximately 5 miles). Fellow sophomore Brennan Bonner placed 7th, crossing the line six seconds behind Reindl.
Reindl was thrilled at how the team faced the larger funded teams, which have money for both recruiting and athletic scholarships. “We are a little D3 School, so it was nice to beat them.”
Coach Stiles said, “The men’s team this year is light years ahead of where we were last year.” Illustrating this performance was the men’s top seven spread, separated by 71 seconds, a fine accomplishment.
The women’s team finished fifth out of nine teams, losing only to three D1 schools and one D2 program. Junior Maggie Grabow ran the 5K (or 3.1 miles) in 17:52.05.
She was followed by freshman Beth Herndon, who finished in 18:32.96. Currently, the women’s team is ranked 10th in the nation.
Herndon explained that the top five places on each team determine the score; the top 7 are usually considered varsity. In this weekend’s results, the top five places from each school composed the ‘A’ team and the next 5 as the ‘B’ team to create an 18 team field for the women.
“Not only did our women’s A team place 5th,” said Herndon, “but the B team was 7th overall. I think that really showed what amazing depth we have as a team.”
The confidence of the team is strong, as 26 of the runners were excited to set their personal records at EIU. Coach Stiles is equally thrilled, stating “This is the best balance between the men’s and women’s teams that I have had in my three season’s here. I couldn’t be more pleased with the attitudes and team chemistry occurring on both teams this year.”
He continued to state that this weekend’s meet “was another great step, as we continue to prepare for the three championships in November.”
The team’s next meet will be held on October 4, at the Indiana State Invitational.
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