By Colleen Slattery
The Crusaders took an early bus this past weekend to the 2014 East Texas Invite, held in New Summerfield, Texas. The setting was a strange one, as the course wound around baseball and softball fields, and then eventually took a circuitous and hilly path through woods and meadows to finally finish the race on what is a nightmare for many cross country runners: a track. As the men and women shuffled through their warm up jogs, they kicked up red dust and sand in their wake. Perhaps it is true that there is nothing but heat out in East Texas. While this may be true, the Crusaders raced well on the foreign terrain this past Saturday, Sept. 20. The men finished in sixth place out of nine teams, while the women finished fifth overall out of eight teams.
The men took to the course first in their inaugural eight-kilometer race of the season. The 8K race is the norm for men’s collegiate cross country, and the University of Dallas racers stepped up to the challenge of the lengthy race. Junior Ryan McAnany led the charge, racing up and down the hills with his characteristic smooth stride and easy grace. He finished in 10th place overall with a time of 28:20, just a few seconds off of his all-time personal record for the 8K. McAnany’s racing is already incredibly strong this season, and he does not seem to be letting up anytime soon. Fellow junior Javier Secaira showed his depth as a runner, coming in as the second runner for the men’s team, not far behind McAnany. He finished with a time of 28:33. Junior Jack Grubner (29:51), senior Aaron French (32:08) and junior Zach Zendt (32:21) rounded out the top five finishers for the Crusaders.
The women were up next, taking on yet another five-kilometer race. After a pep talk from the exhausted and perspiring men’s team, the gun was fired, and the women pounded through the dust and crested the hills bravely to compete with a field of runners that proved resilient and unrelenting. Senior Clare Myers held on tightly during the race, despite the midday heat, and ran a season’s best 5K in a time of 19:25. Senior Colleen Slattery was the next to finish for the Crusaders (20:42). Junior Ruth Fritz (20:56), senior Meghan Falconer (20:57) and senior Danielle Pajak (21:13) were the next to cross the finish line for the women.
Myers, who has consistently been the top finisher for UD the last two years, is optimistic about this past week’s race.
“I was really impressed with the team’s performance this week. We raced in the heat of the day on a tough course, and we raced well,” Myers said.
She looks forward to future races for the squad.
“I’m excited to see what we can do, especially with the great race we’ve got coming up in Wisconsin. And I’m really looking forward to competing against [former coach] Buchhorn’s squad in a few weeks,” Myers stated.
The Crusader cross country teams are traveling to West Allis, Wisconsin for their next meet on Oct. 4.