Wayne State Cross Country Focused on Conference and National Meet

Zach Nunnenkamp, Sports Writer

Wayne State College Cross Country is at the halfway point of their season. The men’s team is led by junior Titus Kiptoo and senior Will Mcgonigal. They have two more invites until the NSIC championships on Nov. 5 in Wayne. Head Coach, Marlon Brink, wants to improve the overall team finish from last year. 

“I think they’re making some decent progress as we went along here,” Brink said. “We have three solid races in the first two big meets with over 300 athletes per race. It was good to get some of those bigger meets in and get some experience in those. We’re focused on the second half of the season. The conference and regional meets are kind of our main focus trying to get prepared for those.”  

WSC has two meets left to prepare for the conference meet. “The next two meets are little bit easier courses which will help be a little faster paced races but hopefully that will build their confidence going into the conference championships,” Brink said.   

On Sept. 23 at the Wildcat Classic, the men’s team took second place finishing behind Augustana. “Our main goal is to improve against other teams in the NSIC,” Brink said. “Last year our men’s team was, I believe, 11th at the conference championships, and we would like to hopefully get at least a top eighth finish.” 

With all focus on the conference championships, Brink said he appreciated they get to host the meet. He mentioned hosting it comes with its advantages over the competition. “We run out there pretty frequently, so that should help a little bit that they’re familiar with it,” Brink said. “It is a hillier course [and] some teams might come in and not be prepared for that kind of a hilly course. I think it is an advantage to have raced it before you get to the conference meet.” 

With the season being at the halfway point, the practices will start to change. The number of miles the team runs from week to week will decrease. “[We] cut back the milage, so they should be a bit fresher, be able to run a faster pace, handle a faster paced race and hit some personal best times,” Brink said. “[Our] whole goal is trying to gear up to peak at the conference meet.”  

Brink feels happy with the progress he has seen, but said he knows there is more to be done before conference and regional championships. “Trying to get some solid races in from the guys where it kind of builds their confidence,” Brink said.  

Senior Will Mcgonigal did miss the previous race with an injury, but is expected to race at the team’s next meet Oct. 8 in Sioux City, Iowa.