Emily Daum, Head coach of the Trinity University cross country team, has a reason to be pleased with her team after their recent performances at the University of Incarnate Word (UIW) Invitational Meet and the Aluminum Athletic Equipment (AEE) invitational meet at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Both meets are good tests for the Tigers, for they ran against tough competition from conference and state rivals in the invitational meet at UIW and ran against some of the top Division III schools in the nation at the AAE invitational meet.
At the UIW Invitational, the Tigers ran rampant over the competition with a first place finish against their division three opponents. Both the Tiger men and women placed fourth overall in the race between DII and DIII schools. The result was an impressive one for the team because they were without the top eight runners for both the men and women, due to the Pre-National meet scheduled for the following weekend, this past Saturday, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
First-Year Ben Matthews played vital role in helping the Tigers achieve their high finish in the UIW meet, for Matthews led the pack of Division III finishers with his time of 26:36. With his performance at the meet, Matthews was selected as the Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). Matthews was especially pleased with the result since he recently returned from an injury.
“It was my first real race back and so I was just kind of wanting to go at it a bit conservatively,” Matthews said. “About 5k in, I felt really good and so I kind of went for it the last bit of the race and tried to pass as many people as I could.”
In his first season on the cross country team, Matthews has been very impressed with what he seen. The results from the UIW invitational reaffirmed his beliefs that this team has a lot of depth, which bodes well for future competitions and the strength of the Trinity squad for years to come.
“When you can sit your top eight runners and still have your ninth man go and be conference runner of the week,” Matthews said. “That really is a testament to the work that the coach is doing and the depth that we have on this team.”
A week after the UIW invitational, the top eight male and female runners for Trinity made the trip to Wisconsin to compete in their pre-national meet. As a whole, the team was proud of their performance with the men placing 19th out of 45 teams and the Tiger women placing 23rd out of 46 teams competing in the event.
“This was the first meet where we went to compete and it was only Division III teams,” Daum said. So it was good to see where we stacked up against nationally ranked teams.”
Daum was especially pleased with the men’s performance, stating that four of the top five runners for the team set a new personal best. Of those five, it was First-year Oliver Langselius’ 75th place finish with a time of 25:42 in the men’s 8k event, which was the highest finish for the team. While the women as a whole had a more difficult time at the event, Sophomore Emma MacEachern wrote her way into the Trinity history books by posting her time of 22:42 in the 6k race, a time that put her in the top ten times for the 6k in school history. MacEachern placed 66th in her field that contained over 400 competitors and her performance at the Pre-Nationals is why MacEachern was named the SCAC Cross country runner of the week.
Reflecting on the Pre-National race, Junior Captain Natalie Belew had this to say, “It was really exciting being at that course (and) it really invigorated (the team).”
Belew has a good reason to be excited, for the course where the team ran at Pre-Nationals is the same course where Nationals Championship for DIII is held.
It should come as no surprise that Belew mentioned that the team wants to go back and that they are less than a month away from competing at Nationals. However, before they can head to Nationals, the team must compete in the SCAC championships on October 31, where they were the runners-up last year.
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