After a disappointing finish at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championships, the cross-country team was looking for a comeback as they traveled to Virginia for this years’ USCAA Championship.
“Everyone wanted to end on a high note,” Head Coach Matthew Barber said. “This race represents us doing just that.”
After getting over his first championship race from two weeks ago, the men’s number one runner, sophomore Thomas Hogan, looked to the USCAA race as a chance to push through the mental and physical exhaustion that culminated this championship season.
“I realized that whenever I go into a race thinking about how I will feel after the race, I run badly,” Hogan said. “So I decided simply to focus on giving my all in this one race. That kind of attentiveness makes a big difference for me.”
Hogan’s eighth place finish and time of 26:24 crushed the 8k school record, previously held by Mark Landreneau (class of ’07), and landed Hogan on the USCAA Second Team.
Similarly, junior Angela Moore led the women’s side with a time of 23:38 to garner a sixth place finish and shatter Clare Myers’ (class of ’15) 6k school record.
Moore was especially proud of her accomplishments. After establishing that she was not going to limit herself, she decided to just run without worrying about her placement or the race, and the results were remarkable.
“It’s a very satisfying feeling,” Moore said. “Freshman year I was in awe of Clare Myers’ running. She’s a fantastic runner. Being the competitive person I am, I told coach Barber, ‘I’m going to beat her records one day.’ After two seasons of injury, it’s an awesome feeling to know that I do actually have it in me.”
Barber was equally excited by the accomplishments.
“Both of our new record holders recognize how much more is left in the tank going into next year,” Barber said.
In addition to the school records, the women’s side boasted four more personal records from seniors Joey Danaher and Karmina Martinez and freshmen Mary Korth and Ana Wilhelm. The men’s side saw personal bests from freshmen Andrew Maal and John Patrick McHugh.
“With this big of a field, the race strategy was simple: don’t get caught in a big group you won’t be able to maneuver around early.” Barber said. “Get comfortable for the first mile, then pick people off the rest of the way.”
Ultimately, this strategy led the Crusaders to high team placements with the women’s team finishing seventh of 21 teams and the men finishing 11th of 22 teams.
Hogan was especially proud of the cross-country team as a whole.
“We have put in a lot of work as a team, and that in itself is rewarding,” Hogan said. “I have enjoyed being a part of the community of this team and forming some new friendships.”
After the unexpected disappointments at the SCAC Championship, Barber was pleased to see the team learn from their mistakes.
“The [team] looked great this weekend,” Barber said. “It’s hard to express how proud I was as a coach to see the team race this strong to end the year.”