Record-breaking season finale for cross country

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Photo courtesy of UD Athletics

The University of Dallas men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at their last race on Nov. 8 in the USCAA National Championship race in Virginia Beach, VA. The men placed eighth overall and the women placed fourth overall, led by sophomore Anna Wilgenbusch, who earned her eighth meet win this season and captured the USCAA individual champion title. 

This was just the second time that a UD runner has won the title, according to UD athletics. She completed the 6K course in 21 minutes and 58 seconds, notching an average mile pace of 5 minutes and 53 seconds. 

Despite winds that reached 30 miles per hour, several members of both the men’s and women’s teams achieved personal records (PR). On the women’s side, Wilgenbusch, junior Emma Kate Callahan (24:26), sophomore Isabella Childs (27:54), sophomore Elizabeth Regnerus (27:00). For the men’s 8K, freshman Thomas Lagarde (27:28), junior Bobby Lueck (31:35) and freshman Caleb Clayton (31:50) also earned PRs.

Callahan described the significance of this meet for the team. 

“I was able to PR and also make the second all-American team so those were definitely some personal highlights,” Callahan said. “The team as a whole also competed really well … It was just great to spend the time team bonding and developing relationships.”

Nick Wallisch, also a junior, reflected on this last race and the season as a whole.

“It was a really fun trip to Virginia and a great end to the season. Traveling is a great opportunity for team bonding and I think we came together well, which is encouraging looking forward to next year.”

This season saw the transition from five-year head coach Matt Barber to current head coach Nick Schneigert. Wallisch described this as a “tough transition,” but said that he is optimistic about the future of the program under Schneigert.

“Some tough parts of the season were losing former coach Barber,” said Wallisch. “Now that [Schneigert] is settled in, it’s exciting to see where he can take us!”

“It’s difficult to reduce a whole season to a single race, even the last one,” said Callahan. “I think the team really put out their best effort in this race … But I think it was also a grueling race in that the weather was super windy and by the end of the season, many of us are fairly exhausted.”

Although the team is hanging up their spikes for the season, Wilgenbusch’s performance at SCAC conferences individually qualified her for NCAA regionals, where she could be the first Crusader to go on to NCAA nationals. Still undefeated this season, she will travel this weekend to Memphis, TN and compete against runners from Washington & Lee University, Lynchburg University and Emory University.

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