Photo courtesy of John Brauer

Speeding through The Sundodger Invitational

Cross county races through Lincoln Park’s course

By Peter Melling /// Sports Editor

The squads are off again! The men’s and women’s cross-country teams got back into action at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle last Saturday and followed up on their dual meet with a strong performance. The men’s team finished seventh out of 19 teams, while the women’s team finished No. 10 out of 18. How did they put together a finish like that?

Like with the dual meet, the biggest elements of the teams’ success so far are the freshmen men and the senior women. The first three finishers on the men’s side were Blake Slattengren (’18), Tyler Sugai (’18) and Jeff Mullins (’18) who finished with the times 25:55, 26:13 and 26:19, respectively. Susan Heinselman (’15) and Katie Keith (’15) of the women’s team were the first Lewis & Clark finishers in their race, finishing 24:19 and 24:29. On the emergence of the first-years, Kory Andersen (’15) said, “[the first year runners] probably surprised themselves at how good they could run, especially in their first really competitive meet.” These strong performances against conference and non-conference opponents at the invitational have each squad hopeful that they can make a significant run for the conference title in November against top competitors like Willamette.

Next up for the teams is the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 27 in California, held on Stanford University’s golf course. Like all of the other events this season, the men run an 8K race while the women run a 6K race. LC is the only participant from the Northwestern Conference. This is a mixed-field event, which involves all levels of college competition, including Division I.

Andersen said, “It’s more of just challenging ourselves and seeing what we can do, to compete against more talent and see if we can stretch ourselves and develop those racing skills that will really help us in November when championship season comes.”

With events like the Sundodger Invitation and the upcoming Stanford Invitational, the cross-country teams are gaining valuable experience against experienced runners and building up the skill set necessary for a run at the conference title.

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