By Lauren Keegan
McIver Park was ablaze with excitement, competition and sunny weather as 13 cross country teams from all over Oregon and Washington competed in the L&C Invitational in Estacada, Ore. on Saturday Oct. 13.
The L&C Invitational was the second home meet of the season for Lewis & Clark Cross Country. The women’s race is six kilometers long, consisting of two three-kilometer loops, and the men’s race is eight kilometers, consisting of two three-kilometer loops plus a two-kilometer loop.
The women’s team finished with a cumulative score of 306 and a total time of 2:01:07. The runners’ finishing placement was Samantha Bowen ’20 in 45th place, Genevieve Serna ’21 in 49th place, Etta Moen ’21 in 72nd place, Alexandra McCoons ’21 in 76th place, Adalynn Griesser ’22 in 99th place, Katie Hull ’19 in 106th place and Marcella Chavez ’21 in 113th place.
Bowen is the women’s team captain for the 2018-2019 season.
“I think it went really well,” Bowen said. “A lot of the women were really excited about how their race went. It was a challenging race and we all felt the difficulty, but ultimately we had lots of PRs and I’m proud of everyone.”
The men’s team finished with a cumulative score of 252 and a total time of 2:11:05. The runners’ finishing placement was Miguel Haro-Ruiz ’20 in 27th place, Sean Richardson ’20 in 40th place, Matt White ’21 in 76th place, Ryan Nguyen ’19 in 77th place, Elliot Jones ’22 in 94th place and Connor Robertson ’22 in 120th place.
“I feel like I ran well,” Jones said. “I’m getting used to racing 8ks instead of 5ks, and I ran the time I wanted to run, so that gives me some confidence for conference.”
Richardson put the team’s performance in the context of prior meets.
“Overall, as a team I think we did okay,” Richardson said. “We started off the season pretty injured and a lot of our team wasn’t healthy, but we’re slowly bringing it back together and we should be competitive by conference.”
What appeared at first as a lucky stretch of record times for the race was revealed to be an accident. The usual plot of the course was changed this meet to avoid an unruly hairpin turn with a dangerous drop-off.
Because of this change, the course was unintentionally shortened by 296 meters on the men’s course and 186 meters on the women’s course. It is estimated that this took about 55-65 seconds off of all the men’s times and 40-50 seconds off of all the women’s times. The change made the courses just short of the NCAA Division III course lengths for championship races, but still fit within the recommended guidelines for standard races. This error will be remedied for the conference meet, as this was the first meet that tested out the new route.
“We’re making progress,” head coach Keith Woodard said. “It was a good day for racing, and after we make the adjustments for the short course, we’ll find that people ran pretty fast.”
The L&C Invitational is also open to LC alumni. Four alumni from the men’s team came out for the race. Jarrod Nixon ’14, Brendy Hale ’15 , Blake Slattengren ’18 and Ivan Ramos-King ’18 competed in the men’s race as an incomplete alumni team. Five runners are required in order to score points as a team.
“It’s always fun to have the old guard back,” Woodard said. “Blake has continued to run, so it’s fun to see that. It was good to welcome back the older alumni as well.”
LC Cross Country will be returning to their home turf of McIver Park on Oct. 27 to host the Northwest Conference Meet.