Cross country teams finish in middle of pack in Louisville
In their first major meet of the season, the Washington University men’s and women’s cross country teams edged several Division I and II competitors.
The fourth-ranked men’s team finished 14th out of 29 at the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, Oct. 1, while the No. 2 women’s team took 13th out of 30.
Seniors Liz Phillips (17:52.48) and Erica Jackey (17:54.58) led the Bears past big-name schools such as the University of Kentucky, Marquette University and the University of Louisville in the women’s 5K. Jackey shattered her personal record in the 5K by nearly a minute, set at last year’s Louisville meet, and ran her best mile-split time of the season.
“This is probably one of the best Louisville meets we’ve ever had as far as overall how many people ran well or set personal records,” Phillips said.
Head coach Jeff Stiles believes Jackey is capable of consistently performing at the level she did on Saturday.
“There’s no such thing as a fluke,” Stiles said. “That was a big breakthrough, no doubt about it. That was probably the highlight on the women’s side.”
The men’s team defeated the University of Alabama and the University of Mississippi, among others. Three of the top five Wash. U. runners cut at least 28 seconds from their 8K times at last week’s Wheaton College Invitational, including leading runner Michael Burnstein (24:44.13), who was nearly 40 seconds faster.
“You just run fast [on this course] because there are no hills and there’s just a fast surface,” said Burnstein, a senior. “But also there’s a lot more competition this week because last week … was a really small, low-key meet, and it was all Division III, whereas this week, there were some of the top Division I programs in the country and just a lot more people pushing the pace.”
Returning to his hometown of Louisville, junior David Hamm (25:00.41) posted the second best time of his career in his first meet of the season. Hamm started racing later in the season so his body will not wear down before postseason meets.
“I pretty much ran as well as I could have hoped,” Hamm said.
Freshmen Ryan Senci (25:31.07) and Garrett Patrick (25:33.65) dropped 28 seconds and 33 seconds from their Wheaton times, respectively, to place third and fourth for the Bears. Sophomore Elliott Petterson (25:45.79), the fifth man, cut 15 seconds.
Senior Tucker Hartley, who is usually the Bears’ second runner, was sick and did not race.
Senior Molly Wawrzyniak (18:03.21), sophomore Sarah Fisher (18:25.71) and senior Jessica Londeree (18:44.74) rounded out the women’s team top five.
Freshman Lucy Cheadle missed her second consecutive race with a calf injury.
It was the first 5K of the year for most of the women’s top runners, who did not race at the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville meet two weeks ago. Upcoming meets will be 6K courses.
The men’s and women’s teams both sent out their top ten runners for the “A” race and their next ten for the “B” race. Some men’s runners competed in a “C” race.
Overall, Stiles was pleased with his squads’ performances.
“We had some kids perform great, some kids perform pretty well, some kids that were a little disappointed,” Stiles said. “It’s a hard time every year—it just seems like kids are pretty tired about this time with school and whatnot.”
The Bears have an off week before the Brooks Oshkosh Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 15, when Stiles expects Cheadle to return to action.