The University of Dallas Cross Country team put up yet another stellar showing this weekend at their third meet of the season, the Muthama-Rogers Invite hosted by Bethel College in Newton, Kansas.
Sophomore Anna Wilgenbusch continued her impressive winning streak, nabbing first place for the third time in a row and setting new meet and school records. Angela Cuba’s 2008 5K time of 18:40 in 2008 fell to Wilgenbusch’s astonishing 17:53.4, according to the University of Dallas Athletics page.
“The flat course and cooler temps definitely helped me run a minute faster than last week,” said Wilgenbusch. “I started out fast, and thought, I think I can hold onto this pace, so that’s what I did. The crowd also helped me out because everyone, from all different teams, was cheering for me, yelling that I was about to break the meet record. The energy from the crowd helped me accelerate down the long straight away into the finish line.”
The enthusiasm of both runners and spectators combined with near-perfect running conditions allowed many runners to clock their personal bests, including sophomore Sabrina Lucio who took 15th in the meet and junior Emma Kate Callahan, who took 8th, breaking a personal record from her junior year of high school.
“I definitely felt strong during this race, especially compared to last year and previous years,” said Callahan. “I also felt like the whole team was pushing me forward. It seemed like everyone wanted to compete and do well.”
Beyond the spectator and team dynamics, ideal course conditions made a huge impact on the team’s success, according to sophomores Libby Regnerus and Isabella Childs.
“A grassy course made for a smooth race and led to stellar PRs from many of us,” said Regnerus.
“The cooler weather here in Kansas, around 75 degrees and overcast, was a more comfortable racing environment. It made a huge difference for me,” said Childs.
The men’s squad also performed well, switching from the previous 5K races to the longer 8K. This marked an important change for the rest of the season, according to senior Drew Maal.
“For the first 8K of the season, it felt pretty good,” said Maal. “It’s important to establish racing at this distance because conference will be an 8K.”
Maal was UD’s second finisher at 32:07.0, followed closely by freshmen Stephan Brennan finishing at 32:34.6 and Caleb Clayton at 33:28.5. Freshman Max Lagarde produced another impressive performance as the team’s lead runner, taking ninth place overall with a time of 27:57.7.
“I’m always looking to improve my times and become a better runner, and being able to get faster and set a new benchmark for myself is always exciting,” said Lagarde.
The team will have a chance to do just that at their upcoming home meet, the University of Dallas Invitational, on October 5th in Irving.