Cross-country wins men’s and women’s UAA championships
On a cloudy, brisk and muddy morning in Somers, Wis., it was a tight battle for the University Athletic Association (UAA) championship. The tight battle, however, didn’t happen between respective schools. Washington University ran away with their third straight sweep of the UAA conference championship after both the men and women’s cross-country teams took home first place honors. Instead, the tight battle happened between Wash. U.’s top runners as they duked it out for the top spots in the race.
It was newcomer Brad Hodkinson who captured his first men’s UAA individual title, dethroning two time reigning UAA champion, fellow Wash. U. senior David O’Gara.
“They just feed off each other,” Stiles said of Hodkinson and O’Gara. “They’re not trying to beat each other but instead, they’re pulling each other along.”
Hodkinson, the senior transfer from Pacific Lutheran University, ran a 25:19 time in the 8K. O’Gara and fellow senior Pete Johnsrud were only four and 26 seconds behind, respectively, giving Wash. U. the top three spots in the race. Freshman Patrick Norrick, due to a late drop, received a text message 45 minutes before the bus left at 8 a.m. that he was running this weekend. Despite being an alternate, Norrick ran a 26:13 time to finish in 15th place. The team’s 31 points was six lower than second place Carnegie Mellon.
On the womens’ side of the race, it was junior Paige Lawler who notched the first place individual prize. She ran a 21:15 time, only 31 seconds in front of senior Aly Wayne, who finished third overall. The team totaled an impressive 24 points, 47 ahead of second place University of Chicago.
After a tough early season schedule that included a Loyola Lakefront meet featuring Division I programs such as Arizona and Nebraska and the pre-national Brooks Invite, getting back on top was a good feeling for the Bears. While the women finished first in the pre-national meet, the men were runners up to 2017 National Champions, North Central College. In the Loyola Lakefront meet, the men notched seventh, while the women placed sixth.
With Midwest Regionals two weeks away and the Division III National Championship three weeks away, Wash. U. still has a lot of running left to do. Stiles said that the Bears will need to continue their routines to give themselves the best chance at victory in November.
“Trusting training,” Stiles said. “It’s getting sleep, it’s balancing school…You have to be a nerd.”