Off and running
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This past weekend, the Westmont men’s and women’s cross country teams travelled to Fullerton to compete in the Biola Invitational. Although the Warriors had already had a race under their belt from the Nationball Classic the weekend prior, the Biola Invitational was the first true meet of the season, providing Westmont with its first real opportunity to kit up, spike up, and test its summer conditioning in a high stakes environment.
On the men’s side, Westmont placed sixth out of ten teams, averaging a course time of 27:23 (minutes:seconds) over eight kilometers. Finishing first for the Warriors, and 20th overall, was senior Kyle Fredrickson. Fredrickson blazed through his first mile, running 5:18, and finished the course with an overall time of 26:24. Sophomore Michael Oldach was the next Westmont athlete to cross the finish line, finishing in 39th with an overall time of 27:09. Following closely on his heels, senior Tom Hamlin rounded out the top three Westmont scorers, running an overall time of 27:21 and finishing in 46th. With the top seven athletes from each team scoring, Westmont had a 2:15 spread, meaning that their last scoring runner finished the course two minutes and fifteen seconds after the first runner had crossed the line.
“Saturday was a bit of a mixed bag,” said Oldach. “Three of our regular top seven guys were out with illness or injury, and that hit us pretty hard. Kyle and David (Peterson) had strong races, however, and the team’s promise for the upcoming season is looking good. It was a good meet to compete in, and we learned some valuable lessons, even though we weren’t as competitive in team scoring as we hoped to be.
We have two weeks before our next meet, and we’ll be training hard for it. Hopefully racing in a few week’s time will give us a good frame to mentally prepare and be ready to test the team’s fitness again.”
On the women’s side, Westmont finished fifth out of 12 teams, with an average course time of 20:01 over five kilometers. Finishing first for the Warriors was senior Janna Jensen, who finished the course in 19:19. Jensen finished in 26th place overall.
Following closely behind Jensen was senior Nadine Lara, who finished second for the Warriors and 36th overall. Lara recorded a time of 19:34. Rounding out the top three scorers for Westmont was freshman Hannah Grace, who finished in 59th overall with a time of 20:06.
The Warriors recorded a top-seven spread of 2:01, with all seven of the scoring runners finishing within nearly two minutes of one another. This idea of running as a pack is one of the reasons that contributed to a top-five finish for the Warriors on Saturday.
Westmont will have two weeks of rest and tune-up before their upcoming matchup with The Master’s University, Golden State Athletic Conference rivals and a very competitive team. In the lead up to this meet, Head Coach Russell Smelley has been discussing the values of grit and persistence in the face of challenge, and that “both are critical to becoming a competitive and consistent team.”
The Warriors, although off to a tough start this season, hope to bring the guns to bear in two weeks time. Good luck to all the runners preparing for the next race.