Cross country: Women ahead of the pack, men strong at Oshkosh

| Sports Reporter

Only the number one team in the country could beat Wash. U.’s women’s cross country team in Saturday’s meet at Oshkosh, Wis. The men’s team finished seventh out of 35 as the women beat out 32 other squads.

The women were led by junior Taryn Surtees with a time of 21:04, finishing sixth overall. The men were led by sophomore Michael Burnstein who had a time of 24:48, finishing 13th in the meet.

Surtees was followed by senior Molly Schlamb, finishing 10th overall, with a time of 21:55. Rounding off the Bears’ top three female finishers was junior Jessica Londeree, who was good for a 20th place finish with a time of 22:09.

“The meet was awesome; we had a great team race with tons of personal bests,” Schlamb said.

The women’s team was only beaten by top-ranked Calvin College, whose runners combined for 80 points in the meet, beating out Washington University by 13 points. Coming so close to the first place victory showed the Wash. U. team that they have promise to be one of the top contenders in the cross country field, but lots of practice is necessary for that to happen.

“Yesterday showed that we are going to be ready to make a really strong showing in the upcoming meets,” Schlamb said. “The next few weeks we have some tough training to get through.”

Following Burnstein in the men’s race was freshman David Hamm (25:18, 35th), senior Alex Bearden and junior Dave Spandorfer (25:30, 51st), fresh off of an early season knee injury. Finishing off for the Red and Green was sophomore Malik Nabulsi at 64th place, 10 seconds behind Spandorfer.

“We have four weeks until we return to Oshkosh for the nationals qualifying meet in one of the most difficult regions in the country, but by that time we will be a much faster and smarter team,” Nabulsi said. “We’ve only just begun increasing the intensity of our training.”

The team is focusing on training for the time being to get ready for the University Athletic Association meet. “We’ve got some difficult competition from Emory and NYU, but if things keep going the way they have been, it will be a very successful weekend,” Nabulsi said.

Despite all that, the team is keeping its eyes on the prize, with Regionals looming in the middle of November. They are buckling down on their training while figuring out what doesn’t work and fixing it. “Specifically we are increasing our speed work but still maintaining our mileage. We need to continue to work hard in practice to prepare for UAAs and regionals,” Burnstein said.

With enough hard work and determination, this team looks ready for great things at regionals and beyond. “We will line up at nationals knowing that we are ready to see what this team can do,” Schlamb said. “I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together.”