Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Cross Country teams start season strong

The Mens XC team does their warmup laps. Photo by Ian Murrin.

Augustana’s cross country teams competed at their second meets of the year on Saturday, September 8th at the Luther All-American Invitational. The men finished fifth out of ten teams, and the women did not field a complete team in order to participate in the event,
At their first meets, the women’s team had come off a third place finish at the IWU Titan Opener, and the men’s team finished second out of five teams at the Western Illinois Invitational. Both teams had great outputs, with senior Brandon Wilkerson and junior Abby Casey leading the way.
In his final season, Wilkerson got off to a fantastic start setting an Augustana record for the 6,000 meter race. He finished with a time of 18:53.3, good for second place overall. He talked about getting off to his hot start.
“I know I am only going to improve throughout the season so I am excited to see where I end up,” Wilkerson said. “My summer training is probably what helped most with the good start. I had my best summer yet which has led to some great early workouts with the team.”
He also talked about his motivation for the remainder of the season.
“I am just trying to keep focused on the end goal,” Wilkerson said. “I want to go to the National meet in November, and this was a great first step to making that happen.”
Like Wilkerson, Abby Casey got off to an incredible start winning the field of 80 runners in her two mile race. She finished with a time of 11:51.1, finishing almost seven seconds in front of the second place competitor.
Casey talked about her motivation for the season.
I attribute my first place finish to my work ethic and discipline all year long. I am a very fortunate for the support from my family, friends and peers,” Casey said.
As a junior, she mentioned how the underclassmen now look up to her as a leader.
We all have our own goals and team goals, so I hope that I inspire my teammates to work hard and get better each day to reach both our individual and team goals,” Casey said.
At the Luther All-American Invitational, Brandon Wilkerson led the way again, finishing second with a time of 20:41 in the four mile race.
Wilkerson talked about the men’s team as a whole.
“I see the men’s team surprising a few people this year. I think a lot of people assume because we lost our coach of 52 years that we would be in some trouble. But I know the guys we have and I know there are going to be some teammates to step up and I am excited to see how we do this year,” Wilkerson said.
After the Luther All-American Invitational, Casey talked about the women’s team going into this season.
“I feel that our team is a lot more competitive and well equipped this season,” Casey said. “We have brought in strong freshman, added to our coaching staff, and have a new and improved training program.”
The women’s team participates in the Gil Dodds Invitational in Warrenville, Illinois on Saturday, September 15. Come support both teams on Friday, September 21st, at their home meet at 3 o’clock at Saukie Golf Course.
Photo above: The Mens XC team does their warmup laps. Photo by Ian Murrin.

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Cross Country teams start season strong