Augustana’s cross country meet stocked with runners and glow sticks

Nathan Pearson, Staff Writer

A competitive “twilight” meet will mark the start of the season for a young and restocked Wayne State cross country program.

On Friday, the Wildcats will take part in the Augustana Twilight Invite.

The meet, hosted by Augustana University, is a rare night race where the course is mapped out with glow sticks. Runners in the meet also wear glow sticks so participants can see each other.

The meet will be competitive, as over twenty schools will be participating. On the roster for the invitational are four Division I schools and 2016’s junior college national champions, Iowa Central.

The first meet of the season is a good test for a young team heading into conference meets.

“My biggest goal is to improve on our conference performance,” head Coach Marlon Brink said.

During the NSIC championships last year, the women’s cross country team finished last and the men finished 11th.

“I think we will have more depth on the girls’ side,” Brink said. “We will return Andrea DeSimone and we will be stronger with the new freshmen. It will be a lot tougher on the men’s side. We lost our top five from last year, and we are restocking on the men’s side. Antoine Bardou will be a big addition.”

Bardou is a junior transfer from Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, where he was a two-time national qualifier. Top returners on the men’s side include seniors Corbin Lehn and Joey Black. </p>
“I like the whole team’s attitude,” Lehn said. “I think this year will be a turning point for the future.”

The women’s team is returning its top runner from last year, senior DeSimone. DeSimone was WSC’s top runner at all six meets during the season, and finished 101st at last year’s conference meet with a time of 23:45 in the 5K race.

“The team is pretty young this year so I just want to be a good leader,” DeSimone said.

“Personally my goals would be to place in the top half of every meet and significant time cuts because I have had a very good summer of training.”

The women’s team is also adding four freshman runners to the roster.

“I would like to see us place better at conference. I feel like we have some girls that are capable of that and willing to put in the work,” DeSimone said.

The Twilight Invite will be held this Friday at the Yankton Trails Soccer complex in Sioux Falls, beginning at 8:30 p.m. for the women and 9 p.m. for the men.