WSC cross country racks up points

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Blake Hilkemeier, Staff Writer

The Wayne State Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams kicked off their seasons on August 31st with the Augustana Twilight Invite in Sioux Falls.

The Wayne State Men’s team finished 16th out of 29 teams at the invite, racking up a total of 412 team points.

“I thought we ran pretty well from our number one through five runners,” said head coach Marlon Brink. “We had a pretty good split. Even the six through ten guys, I thought they ran pretty well for their first meet.”

While the Wildcats were not able to break into the top 10, the coaches are still very pleased with the number of people on the team that have shown signs of improvement from last year.

“We had a number of people that actually have already improved from the year before,” assistant coach James Bowlin said. “Nathan Hiemer cut two minutes off his time from last year.”

Individually, for the men, junior runner Dylan Kessler was the top finisher for the Wildcats, posting a time of 23 minutes and 40 seconds, placing him 93 out of the 265 runners competing.

On the women’s side, the Wildcats finished 13th out of 25 teams, scoring 396 points.

“I was really pleased with how they ran.” Brink said. “For several of them it was their first collegiate meet. I don’t think they know yet quite how good they can be, so just have to keep pushing them, telling them that they can do this. They just have to believe in themselves.”

Three of Wayne States top five runners achieved personal bests.

“The potential is really there,” Bowlin said. “They decided to go out with a certain pace, but after having no problem keeping up with that pace, you decide to adjust it for the next race, and just try to push them further and further and further. They’re showing promise.”

Two of the top three finishers for Wayne were underclassmen, making the future seem very bright for the Wildcats.

“They’re going to be a really big part of (the success),” Brink said. “Molly McCartney, Allie Rosener, and the rest of the underclassmen are a very talented group, and as they get more experience they’ll get faster.”

Despite the large majority of underclassmen on the team, it was Junior Kim Lowman who lead the pack with a time of 19:58, and a placing of 81 out of 276 competitors.

The Wildcats goals for the season are to keep improving this young core every meet of the year, and place somewhere in the top 10 of the NSIC for both the Men’s and Women’s teams.

Th Wildcats will be back at their first home event the WSC Wildcat Classic which will start at 10:15 a.m. on Sept. 29.

Photos by Marlon Brink