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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Men’s and women’s cross country give stellar effort at conference

Cindy Luo ’21, Terran Mott ’20, and Christine Rains ’18 pass runners together at the conference meet, where many Grinnellians ran personal bests. Contributed photo.

This past weekend, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams placed second in their Conference meet. Placing second was not the outcome that either team anticipated, but both teams had several personal bests and gave outstanding performances both individually and collectively.

The cross country teams use the entirety of their seasons to prepare for Conference. This meet is the focus of the training season for both the men and women, where both teams can see their hard work and dedication pay off.

“It’s the thing that we’re focused on — where expectations are highest,” said John Lennon ’19.

“It’s the culmination of all your hard work and it’s really nice to be able to accomplish something with your teammates,” added Mikayla Fujiwara ’20.

Both the men and women were expecting to win, but both teams fell short of making this goal. The women’s team does not always win Conference, but they are always one of the top teams.

“Of course you always want to win and you have this hope that the team is going to win, and I think we all very much came from that place. But my coach said to us before the race that she would never be disappointed if we really went and gave it our all and didn’t win,” said Emma Zimmerman ’18.

“I think that we wanted to win. … Everyone on our team performed well, so we can’t really be that disappointed,” said Anna Ahrens ’19.

Women’s coach Evelyn Freeman could not be more pleased with the women’s team’s performance.

“It was incredible. … A majority of the people on the team had their lifetime [personal record] or their seasonal best [personal record],” she said.

“I think for a lot of people it really came together just at the right time,” said Emily Burgess ’19.

Last year the men won their 19th Midwest Conference title in 20 years. Not clinching the title this year was frustrating and disappointing.

“We come in expecting to win every year, and I think over the decades that holds up pretty well. But this year we just got beat. Cornell was much better. We’re not especially happy about that, but it is what it is,” Lennon said.

Will Freeman, the men’s cross country coach, is satisfied with how the men ran this past weekend, despite not winning Conference.

“We ran our best! Our scoring seven all ran personal best times. We were simply beaten by a better team this year,” he wrote in an email to The S&B.

The season is not over for the men and women. The top seven runners with compete at the Regional meet Nov. 11 in Northfield, Minnesota. This meet is an opportunity for two of the seven competing teams to make it to the National meet.

“Every once in a while, Nationals becomes a viable goal, and we feel like it could be this year,” Lennon said.

The men and women are utilizing the upcoming track season to help prepare for cross country and work towards winning the Conference title next season

“I think our immediate goal for next year is to win the conference meet. Everyone in Cornell’s top five returns, so we know exactly what we’re up against. As far as track, I’ll be abroad, but I think everyone is ready to focus in on their individual events and become a better runner competitor,” wrote Pieter Hansen ’19 in an email to The S&B.

Strong underclassmen are undoubtedly going to continue the success the programs have seen.

“I have a lot of hope for the future of the team, looking at the younger runners and not only their running talent, but their commitment to the team and their work ethic and their spirit,” Zimmerman said. “I think that the attitude they bring to the team and the strengths they bring to the team all lead to a great continuance of our traditions and program.”

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