Cross country dominates last meet before NCAA regionals
When the Washington University men’s and women’s cross country teams took the the trail in Warrenville, Illinois Thursday to compete in the Red/White Invitational Meet, their only real competition seemed to be against themselves, as both the men and the women defeated their opponents by considerable margins.
Head coach Jeff Stiles had nothing but praise for both of the teams after their thorough wins, commending their performance as “phenomenal.”
For the No. 4 women’s team, senior Carmen Rottinghaus and freshman Abigail Patterson secured the first and second spots with times of 17:56 and 18:08, respectively. Their top-five average times, including those of Rottinghaus, Patterson, junior Anna Karner, freshman Kavita Shah and sophomore Marlee Fradkin, were a full 51 seconds faster than the second place team, North Central University. North Central was followed by Aurora University and Moody Bible Institute.
The No. 14 men’s team also performed incredibly well, with 19 of the top 20 top men’s finishers hailing from WashU. Sophomore Rishi Sharma ran the course in 14:41, making it the fastest time a Bear ever has run at the Red/White Invitational. Five of the other top 11 times in WashU’s eight year history on the course were also from 2021, courtesy of freshman Fernando Ribeiro Duraes, sophomore Will Houser, junior Mason Wong, senior Neil Cumberland and graduate student Thomas Penney. Quality performances from them and the rest of the team placed WashU far ahead of opponents Aurora and Dominican University.
According to Stiles, this domination is thanks to the team’s “mojo,” caused by “high levels of intrinsic motivation” and the “passion of becoming part of something bigger than yourself.”
The teams now turn from their wins to the biggest event of the year so far, this Saturday’s NCAA Midwest Regionals. Those who qualify at that meet will travel to Louisville, Kentucky to race in the NCAA Championship on Nov. 20. Stiles has a warning for those who are set to face his team in these upcoming meets. “Anyone who comes in contact with our team will be exposed to mojo and might become more motivated and grittier because of it,” he said. “Just make sure that people are aware that it is spreading on the WashU campus.”
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