By DAN LEWIS
Only two meets into their season, the boys and girls cross country teams of Illinois College are off to a great start. Led by freshman Samuel Welbourne and junior Ana Flores respectively, the teams competed at Principia College on August 31 and at Bradley University on September 6.
Although there were only a handful of teams at the season opener at Principia College’s North Farm Meet, the race was still an intense one, due to the extreme humidity and heat on the sunny and newly-created course.
Junior Ana Flores crossed the line first for the Lady Blues and third overall in the women’s 4k with a time of 17:00. Rounding out the top five IC women were freshman Natalie Flynn, who ran a 17:54 for fifth place, sophomore Jill Friedrich, running a 18:11 for sixth place, freshman Taylor Klingele with a 19:21 eighth place finish, and sophomore Faith Irvin who ran a 20:53 and took sixteenth place.
At the same meet, freshman Samuel Welbourne was first for the Blueboys and fifth overall in the men’s 6k as he ran a time of 22:10. The top five IC men included junior Tim Southerland with a 22:35 for seventh place, senior Joshua Williams, who ran a 22:49 and took tenth, freshman Adam Enz running a 23:19 and finishing in twelfth, and sophomore Matt Murphy who ran for thirteenth place with a time of 23:21.
“The meet was small, but it’s a good way to start the season” stated Murphy after the season opener at Principia. “Too bad it was so hot; the heat can really affect our times.”
More recently, the cross country teams ran at Bradley University’s Cross Country Open last week. Facing both a larger quantity and higher quality of competition at this meet than at their season opener, the IC runners met this challenge head on. The Lady Blues finished sixth among the women’s teams and the Blueboys took seventh in the men’s competition.
Flores once again led the IC women, this time running a 19:33 for twelfth place in the women’s three mile race. Friedrich got a time of 21:32 and took 53rd place, Flynn running a 21:57 placed 56th, Klingele ran a 22:16 and took 62nd place, and Senior Gabrielle Kuhn took 81st place with a time of 23:41 to round out the top five for the Lady Blues.
Welbourne continued to lead the Blueboys, running a time of 22:26 for 44th place in the men’s four mile race. Among the top five IC men were Southerland with a 23:18 for 62nd place, Williams running a 23:23 took 64th place, Enz seized 72nd place with a time of 23:55 and Sophomore Taylor Captuo ran a 24:15 for 81st place.
Sophomore Zach ‘Yogi’ Yoggerst ran his first meet ever at the Bradley meet last week, finishing with a time of 24:53. Yogi explained that he is “proud of myself for stepping up and not just joining cross country, but competing as well”. The athlete decided to run the sport to improve his endurance, something that he hopes will help him come track season. “I really love this team and the hard work we have put in so far is paying off.”
Sophomore Jill Friedrich, coming off of knee surgery ran well at the Bradley meet in Peoria. “I’m really excited about this xc season” stated Friedrich. “We have almost everyone returning and some quick freshman that are really contributing. We ended with a great season last year, and I think that’s really going to help us that much further this season”.
Both cross country teams head to Beloit, Wisconsin on the 21st for the competition.