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Feven Getachew
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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School spirit at Les Duke

The men's cross country team race to the finish line at Les Duke.
The men’s cross country team race to the finish line at Les Duke.

By Tommy Odonnel

On Saturday, the College hosted its annual Les Duke cross country meet. Teams from 17 colleges competed with over 400 individual runners taking part.

This year, the Les Duke invitational was held at the Grinnell Country Club and saw a significant portion of the student body, as well as numerous faculty members, who came to support both men’s and women’s cross country teams.

Emma Zimmerman ’18, who finished in eighth place on the six kilometer women’s course in 25 minutes, was well aware of the impact home advantage had on both teams.

“It’s such an amazing energy, it’s really exciting. So many different teams come out, like the swim team are such a great group of supporters,” Zimmerman said. “They painted their bodies for us. The women’s soccer team also came out, and that energy is so amazing, and it drives us when we have so much support and hear all that cheering.”

Anthony Mclean ’17, who finished in twelfth place in the eight kilometer men’s race with a time of 28 minutes and six seconds, also commented on the impact of competing at home.

“It’s always a fun experience just because people who aren’t usually able to come and watch could, so it was fun for so many faculty and students to be involved,” Mclean said.

Both the men’s and women’s teams were happy with the results, finishing fourth and fifth respectively in their competitions.

“I was really happy with how we did. I think that we all worked together really well. We did a good job of this, especially in the first mile working off of our teammates, [by] not going out too hard,” Zimmerman said.

Conditions for the meet were less than ideal, with many large patches of mud making times significantly slower. Many of the competitors had never run such a slow course; however, this didn’t impair their overall team performance.

“Our team is just really good at dealing with adversity, and we kind of use adverse conditions to our advantage because everyone has to deal with the same conditions,” Zimmerman said. “So it is a lot about who doesn’t let it get them down the most.

Due to the bad weather, another meet in Iowa was cancelled which led to more teams joining the Les Duke invitational and making it an even more interesting and competitive race, Mclean added.

“We definitely had some pretty impressive competitors, but I think they are always surprised by how much we improve over the season and never know if we will come back and bite them — which is always the goal,” Zimmerman noted.

Another positive outcome of the meet was the performance of the incoming freshman who have just joined the team, in particular Jackson Schulte ’20 who finished twenty-seventh in the men’s race with a time of 28 minutes and 55 seconds.

“I think that it is really important to thank the student body for coming out and supporting us. I think that really helped the whole team. We all love this meet because of the support we get from faculty and the student body.”

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are off until Sept. 23, when they will compete in the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational hosted by Augustana College.    

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