Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana cross country teams finish strong at home meet

Junior Brandon Wilkerson sprints the final leg of his race on Friday. Photo by Kevin Donovan

Abby Casey kicks the final stretch of her race on Friday at the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational. Casey would place 6th. Photo by Kevin Donovan

Even with the above 90 degree heat, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams were able to place well at their only regular season home meet for this year. The men placed 6th of 16 teams, and the women placed 3rd of 17.
The meet was split into blue and gold races due to number of teams coming. Augustana was put in the blue race, which was the faster and more competitive of the races. Because of the forecasted high temperatures, multiple teams dropped out of the meet before the day of. The Vikings didn’t want the heat to mess with their mentality and decided to focus on themselves and their strengths instead.
Sophomore, Abby Casey, 6th place finisher with the fastest time for Augustana, said the team just took the weather as it was, since they had no way of changing it.
“It was fun to see everyone competing and going out there and giving it their all, and not caring about the weather at that point anymore,” Casey said.
In order for the heat not to get the best of them, head coaches, Paul Olsen and David Thompson, advised their teams to run conservatively and not push anything. The runners were able to keep a steady pace, while not overdoing themselves in the process.
Junior, Brandon Wilkerson, who placed 3rd with the fastest time for Augustana, reiterated this careful, but strong mindset the team had.
“Our coach said from the beginning to be smart and to not push anything too far,” Wilkerson said.
The Brissman-Lundeen Invitational was held in Rock Island, which was exciting for the Vikings because they could have friends and family come out to support them. This gave both the men’s and the women’s team an added motivation that was needed to finish strong.
Although the meet was at their home course, it didn’t necessarily mean they had a home course advantage. The team needs to be confident in themselves in order to produce the best results, no matter what the location.
Both the women’s and men’s teams are confident about the season so far and the rest of the season. A lot of their success has been because of the strong bonds that both teams have made.
“We have a really strong team this year,” Casey said. “We have the confidence, the communication and the bonding.”
Both teams have their eyes set on the conference championships and have the overall goal of reaching nationals. But, for now, they continue to stay focused on each individual meet and their improvement throughout the weeks ahead.
“We are definitely getting better every week and pretty soon we will put it all together,” Wilkerson said.
It is this type of journey that the cross countries teams strive to have. On one of the cross country shirts, the back says, “the goal is the journey.” So, even with these goals of winning conference and nationals, the team really wants to make sure they improve and have fun along the way.
“If at the end of the year we can say it was a great journey, we accomplished our goal.” Olsen said.
The men’s next meet is the Olivet Nazarene Invitational on September 29 and the women’s next meet is the Eagle Invitational on October 6.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Augustana Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Augustana cross country teams finish strong at home meet