Colleen Slattery, Sports Editor
The University of Dallas men’s and women’s cross-country teams took to a familiar course this past Saturday in Shreveport, La. for the SCAC Cross-Country Championships, hosted by Centenary College. The Crusaders had run on the course previously, but this time they were out to prove that UD should not be taken lightly. They achieved this goal as they ran against Austin College, Centenary College, Trinity University, Colorado College and newcomers to the SCAC conference, Texas Lutheran University and Shreiner University.
The day broke cool and full of light, and the women took to the course for the first race. The race went out fast, with many of the UD runners going through the first mile in 6:30. This fast start proved to be helpful to the women, and nearly all of them ran personal best times. The top five runners for the team raced the six-kilometer course in under 25 minutes, an event unprecedented in UD running history. Junior Clare Myers blazed to the finish in a time of 24:01, breaking the school record for the 6K, and placing 15th in the conference. Annie Kennedy, the next finisher for the Crusaders, took nearly two minutes off of her previous best 6K time, running the course in 25:11. Danielle Pajak (25:45), Ruth Fritz (25:48) and Colleen Slattery (25:49) were the next to finish, all in personal best times as well. The women placed fourth overall in a very tough conference, with Trinity University once again sweeping the conference with a perfect score.
The men were next to take to the churned grass of the course. Freshman Guido Maragian went out fast and stayed in front with a typical half-smile upon his racing face. Marasigan ran an impressive race, finishing the eight-kilometer course in a time of 27:38 and earning an all-conference medal, crossing the line in 13th place overall. Fellow freshman Kevin Doherty ran a personal best time of 28:34, claiming 17th place. Jack Grubner (29:26), Aaron French (30:04) and Nick Hedlesky (30:33) rounded out the men’s top five runners, all with season’s best times. The men placed third in conference, one of their highest placements in many years. The strong presence of freshman on the team is a contributing factor to this success.
“The freshmen really put the team on their backs and carried us today,” said sophomore Jack Grubner. “I’m really impressed with them.”
When asked about her record-breaking performance, Clare Myers was non-committal: “I really wanted to make it to the all-conference team [the top 14 runners],” she said. Despite this, she was pleased with her achievement and looks forward to the USCAA national meet this Friday.
Coach Buchhorn, too, was pleased with the accomplishments of his teams, saying,“I really feel that everyone went out there and performed at a high level. This was the best running I’ve seen all year. They put in the work in the workouts, and it paid off. I’m proud of our teams.” With regard to the upcoming national meet, he was optimistic and said he had set high goals. “I really feel that if we run the way we did today, the girls can make it in the top three, and I want to boys to be in the top five. I know it’s a possibility, and after today I feel that we can definitely do it.”
The Crusaders will travel to Syracuse, N.Y. for their final meet this Friday, Nov. 8, facing off with nearly 30 other teams from around the nation in the USCAA National Championships. Good luck, runners!