Cross Country performs 'ok' at Pre-Nationals
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 15:10
USU’s cross country team participated in the NCAA Pre-National Meet at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana. The USU men finished 33rd of 52 teams while the women finished 43rd of 49 teams.
Senior Kyle McKenna led the men’s team with an 84th-place finish in a 359-competitor field, finishing with a time of 24:29.83 seconds in the men’s eight kilometer Blue Run race. Joining him in the top-100 was junior Eric Shellhorn, who finished 95th with a time of 24:32.68.
“I think I had an OK performance. I think the people who usually do a good job weren’t where they wanted to be at the end,” McKenna said.
Senior Alex Litsinger finished 122nd out of 340 runners in the six kilometer Women’s Blue Run race with a time of 21:38.15. Freshman Tori Parkinson joined her in the top-150 with a time of 21:43.47, earning her the 137th spot.
“Basically, it was an OK performance,” Litsinger said. “I really wish I could’ve run better. I got set back a couple of weeks ago when I got sick and I couldn’t shake it off. For the next few weeks I want to practice harder and run better to be prepared.”
The overall challenge was the new environment most of the runners were exposed too. It was a different course with several uphill and downhill portions. Runners found it difficult competing with each other when it was easy to get lost in the crowd.
“We ran at the pace we wanted,” McKenna said. “There were so many runners, and we went out at the pace we should have been and where we were hoping to be and ran as a team, but when the other runners slowed down, a lot of us slowed down with them. Had we ran with the faster pack, I think we could have done better. It was challenging.”
Head coach Gregg Gensel said he is proud of the team’s performance and believes this meet was a valuable learning experience for the team.
“The thing we want to do at this point in the season is have them compete in large competitions so the team understands how hard it is or that this is the biggest level of competition,” Gensel said. “You know to finish at the middle of the pack in the west is a good place to be at. I think they saw what they had to do and what they need to do and learned some valuable things.”
The women dropped one spot to No. 9 in the Mountain West Conference region poll and the men are still ranked at No. 11.
The MWC Championships will be hosted by the Air Force Academy on Friday, Nov. 1 in Colorado Springs.