Crusaders dominate home trails

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Max Lagarde runs during the University of Dallas Invitational, photo courtesy of UD Athletics

Among other exciting events of the University of Dallas’ Alumni Family Weekend, UD hosted a cross country race on Saturday.

The UD men’s team placed second and the lady crusaders came in first. Sophomore Anna Wilgenbusch came in first overall for women. Freshman Max Lagarde came in third overall and first of the UD men. 

“Running on our own trails was a reminder of how much work we’ve put in so far this season,” said Wilgenbusch. “For me, those fields and woods are just vested with the energy we’ve left out there each and every day of practice.” 

This was the first home meet victory for the Crusaders since 2013. Class of 2015 alumna Colleen Beatty was on that team in 2013, and she was cheering the crusaders on from across the country in her home in St. Paul, MN, where she is now an assistant coach for a high school cross country and track team. Coincidently, she coached Wilgenbusch during her senior year of high school.

“I have so many fond memories of racing at UD, and being on the winning team on home soil back in 2013 was one of the highlights,” said Beatty. “I love seeing the success of this cross country team because I know how small and inconsequential the running programs at UD used to be. 

Last weekend’s race was also exciting for UD head cross country coach, Norman Schneigert, who joined UD athletics this September. Schneigert, pleased with the overall success of the team, mentioned that the difficulty of UD’s highly technical course meant he was less concerned about time goals and more focused on preparation for the upcoming conference meet. 

“When coaches put together a training plan, we focus on the championships such as conference, USCAA, and NCAA Championships. We will be peaking on our training cycle the next few weeks then taper down before conference,” said Schneigert. 

Despite not running for specific time goals, the UD cross-country  men and women raced well, securing their overall team placement. Though each runner competes individually, their overall place within the race impacts the men’s or women’s team as a whole.

Boosting the morale of the UD cross country runners, the UD men’s baseball team and members of several other UD sports teams generously sacrificed their Saturday morning to help with the XC meet this weekend. Their presence added a contagious enthusiasm to the early morning and was a gift to everyone navigating the twists and turns of UD’s course. 

“I must have had close to 50 student athletes from other sports volunteers for our invite,” said Schniegert. “That means a whole lot to me. The athletics department here is a lot more close-knit than what I had in the past.” 

Support from other students, athletes, and family members this weekend greatly contributed to the success of the cross country team this weekend and demonstrated a fantastic example of UD’s communitas. Wilgenbusch captured the gratitude of the team to everyone who came to cheer them on.

“The huge amount of fans who came out to support us, including my own parents, also gave me a lot of energy and excitement during the race,” said Wilgenbusch. “This victory is an enormous confidence booster as we face some tough competition and longer distances for the rest of the season.”

The Crusaders have two more races before their SCAC conference meet at Colorado College. The next race is Oct. 11th, hosted by East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas.

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