The Wayne State Cross Country teams both finished in third at the Dakota State Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14, despite bad weather, injuries and illness.
Although they were missing several athletes, Coach Marlon Brink said he thought the teams ran fairly well. Short three men and four women, the teams still managed to score 91 points and 87 points, respectively.
“The season started off pretty strong, but we have had several injuries,” Brink said. “These have kind of taken a toll on the team both physically and mentally.”
Sophomore runner Bryce Holcomb, who came in 22nd with a time of 28 minutes and 30.7 seconds, said despite these injuries he believes they are at a lot better place than they were last year at this time.
“I think some of us were wanting a better time,” sophomore Marin Jetensky said. “But we were all happy with the ending result.”
She finished in 32nd with a time of 21:52.8. Jetensky also said Jade Rickard really stepped it up despite being out for a few weeks.
Rickard was the first female Wildcat to cross the finish line in 13th at 20:59.4, and she had been unable to compete previously due to illness.
The top runner for the men’s team was Dylan Kessler; he came in 14th with a time of 27:29.9.
Originally scheduled for Madison, South Dakota, this meet got moved to Sioux Center, Iowa due to flooding. However, the runners did not let this affect their performance.
“The course is only a mental battle,” Holcomb said. “It doesn’t affect my performance. Everyone has to run the same course as you.”
Although they avoided the flooding, the runners still had to be careful of the rain.
“It stormed that morning, so we were expecting the course to be slick,” Jetensky said. “This course was a rolling course, more hilly compared to last week when we were in Sioux Falls where it was completely flat.”
Brink said this course was great practice for their home meet that is coming up in two weeks.
“The NSIC Cross Country Championships are in Wayne this year,” Jetensky said. “So we are thankful we get to run in front of all of our family and friends. Our biggest goal is to finish in the top 10 of the conference. We’ve all been working really hard the past couple of weeks and I’m excited to see where we end up for conference and regionals.”