October 12, 2017
The Wheaton Thunder Men’s Cross Country team secured a second -place finish on Saturday at the Lucian Rosa Invitational hosted by UW-Parkside at Dannehl National Cross Country Course. The Thunder competed against warm weather, a hill-riddled course and 11 other teams chasing victory. Indiana Wesleyan took first place, edging out Wheaton by scoring 42 points. Wheaton collected 69 points for the second place win, and Marquette earned 80 points to take third place.
Sophomore Simon Peterson recorded Wheaton’s top performance by taking third place on Saturday. Peterson raced the 8K course in 26:43.5. Teammate and fellow sophomore Seth Massot posted a time of 26:55.5 which captured fifth place. Junior Miles Trujillo finished 10th with a time of 27:09.2 and senior Seth Spykstra finished shortly afterwards to capture 24th place in a time of 27:35.4.
Though the running conditions were not ideal, the athletes competed very well. Massot told us, “Saturday was a true cross country kind of day. It was humid, windy and very hilly, but we ran hard and did what we could do. The team as always was solid, with some great performances. It’s always great to perform as a team and to come together afterwards and share that.” Trujillo added, “The course is known for its unforgiving hills: they are a constant throughout the race. However, I did remember the last mile being much longer last year, so I was pleasantly surprised when I entered the last straightaway.” Peterson shared his teammate’s sentiments, “The course itself was challenging. I’m glad that I performed the way I did, but am far more excited for how our team is shaping up to run later this year and next as well. Our front seven right now are racing well and should be around next season too, so we know to make the most of the time we have to be even better next year.”
Coach Wally incorporated hill workouts into the team’s practices leading up to this race and said he thought the men handled the course really well and ran intelligent races. “I encouraged them to stay controlled for the first three miles, which they did and were able to close well the last two miles. Everyone now is running at their full capacity; we are not holding anyone back at this point. Though I did give suggested paces, I believe it was at a pace which would allow them to maximize their race.”
Looking into the future, the team is hoping to keep everyone healthy and combat any injuries. “I’m hoping that we can progress in our training intensity while staying healthy. It’s a delicate balance of wanting to push your athletes to get the most out of themselves and making sure they don’t get injured,” Coach Wally said. Apparently Coach Wally has done a good job finding this balance as Miles told us, “So far, the best thing that’s happened this season has been a lack of injury. I was injured early on the last two cross seasons, so having a full season of training has been the most helpful towards improving my ability to help the team through races.”
The team looks forward to racing on a flatter course in more temperate weather and anticipates more opportunities to succeed in the coming weeks. Peterson commented, “Not everybody has given their best performance on the same day, but we’re hoping to put it all together for regionals.”
The Wheaton Men’s Cross Country team returns to action next Saturday at Principia College’s Cowbell Classic in Elsah, Ill.
October 12, 2017