Colleen Slattery, Contributing Writer
This weekend proved to be a very successful one for the University of Dallas’ cross country teams. Perhaps it was the rain, cloudy skies and cooler temperatures, or maybe just the result of very hard work. Either way, the women’s team took home the first-place trophy, and the men ran a strong race to claim second overall.
The teams traveled to Clarksville, Arkansas this past weekend for the University of the Ozarks Invitational. The women were out for redemption, having fallen narrowly short of winning the first three meets of the season. The men were looking to improve upon their middling fourth-place finishes early on in the season.
The women’s five-kilometer race started out the day, and the results were impressive. Junior Mary Jones set a blistering pace to win the race with a time of 19:28, a season best. When asked how she mentally prepared for the race, she replied, “My mantra was, ‘Be present.’ I just took the race one step at a time, and stayed strong and focused throughout.” The team’s top six runners all ran the course in under 21 minutes, and the top three runners were in the top 10 overall. Mary Jones was followed by freshman Elizabeth Hinchley (19:40), senior Olivia Bach (19:55), sophomores Danielle Pajak (20:43) and Colleen Slattery (20:50), and freshman Mikayla Tolley (20:53).
The men’s eight-kilometer race demonstrated the depth of the relatively young team. Freshman Ryan McAnany finished in fifth place with a time of 28:15, and freshman Javier Secaira was close behind in sixth place at 28:29. The top five Dallas runners were all among the top 16 runners. McAnany and Secaira were followed by sophomore Aaron French (30:23), and freshmen Jack Grubner (30:35) and Zac Zendt (31:06). Their second-place finish was especially impressive considering the fact that four of the top five runners are freshmen.