Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Cross country first-years run into top seven

Ranked tenth in the region entering the week, the Augustana men’s cross country team took third at their home meet, the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational, on Friday, Sept. 21. The women’s team placed sixth at the same meet.
Because the meet was the first 8k of the season for the men, the team was focused on the process of the race. Head coach Jake Shaver, in his first season as the men’s cross country coach, explained how he wanted his team to approach the invitational.
“I don’t want them really worrying about the end result, I just want them focusing on one anothertrying to keep their packs together and just trying to work together as deep into the race as they can and then letting the finish and the result take care of itself after,” Shaver said.
Leading the way for the women’s team was junior Abby Casey, who placed fourth overall. First-year student Carmen Bruchnak, the only first-year student in the team’s top seven group of runners, placed 75th, helping the Vikings earn team points.
Bruchnak, who only joined cross country in high school to improve her endurance for track season, explained what has helped her acclimate to running in the top seven so quickly.
“One thing that’s really cool is that we stick together in races. We’ll be in packs, so we’ll just stick with each other and that’s really helpful,” Bruchnak said.
For the men, first-year student Carl Schoenfield was the Vikings’ seventh runner, placing 61st place. He has been running in the Vikings’ top seven at each of their first three meets and placed 17th overall at the Western Illinois University Early Bird Invitational on Aug. 31.
For Schoenfield, his early season success is not the most positive aspect of his first season on the team.
“It’s the team, that’s for sure. It’s a group of people who [are] stupid enough to go out and say, ‘Let’s run seven miles a day,’” Schoenfield said. “We’re all just kind of insane in our own ways but we have that one thing in common, and that’s all you need to strike up a friendship.”
Shaver spoke to the early season success of the first-year class, noting their potential as a group.
“I’m really pleased and really fortunate to have a group like that for my first freshman class that I get to work with because I think that they want to work hard,” Shaver said. “They’re pretty dialed in to what they need to do to be successful to be distance runners and it’s been really fun to watch so far.”
The men’s team will compete on Friday, Sept. 28 at the Olivet Nazarene Invitational in Kankakee, Illinois. The women’s team will take a break from competition until Friday, Oct. 5, when they compete at the Benedictine Invitational in Lisle, Illinois.

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Cross country first-years run into top seven