Third place CCIW Championship finish for Men’s XC

November 2, 2017
Wheaton’s Men’s Cross Country team captured third place out of nine teams at the 2017 CCIW Men’s Cross Country Championships at St. James Farm Forest Preserve on Saturday. North Central defended its previous CCIW Champion title with a 15-point, first place finish. Augustana scored 74 points to come in second place. Wheaton tallied 88 points in third place, holding off Carthage in fourth with 93 points and Illinois Wesleyan in fifth with 120 points.  
Collectively, the Wheaton Thunder saw huge success, posting four finishers among the top twenty in the competition. Wheaton sophomore Simon Peterson took 13th place in the event, completing the race in 25:57.1. Soon afterward, sophomore Seth Massot finished 15th in 26:02.6 and senior Luke Andersen crossed the finish line at 26:20.6 securing 19th place. Sophomore Michael Larkin took the succeeding 20th place in a time of 26.26.0. Coach David Walford applauded the results. “I am elated with our men’s performance.”
All season long, the men’s team worked hard so their runners could have successful races on Saturday. Their work payed off as team members placed well and achieved new personal records. Massot commented, “The race on Saturday was everything we knew we could do but hadn’t been able to put together in one race up until now. It was still a big step forward as a team and showcased the work and training we have put in this year.” Andersen told us he felt very encouraged to finally overcome his previous personal best which he set two years ago. Walford summed it up in saying, “Our guys did about as well as they could have at the meet, very proud of them. The guys focused on executing their race.”
The weather on race day contrasted with the warm conditions of previous races. “Saturday was a great day to race, the cooler weather was good for distance running and it was nice to race at home. When I looked around the huddle we had near the start line, I saw a lot of eager faces… my teammates were ready to get after it,” Andersen said. Massot also told us, “The hardest parts of the race were two sections that had been churned to slop, making the goal simply to make it through without falling.”
The third place finish over both Carthage and Illinois Wesleyan marked a major achievement by the Thunder Men’s Cross Country team. Andersen recognized, “Getting third was by no means certain as Carthage and IWU were both aiming to take us out.” Walford said the runners from both Carthage and Illinois Wesleyan tend to be more aggressive, and that, “Carthage was significantly ahead of us more than halfway through the race. Our guys moved into third place with only 300 or so meters left in the race. We had four guys pass a Carthage guy in the home stretch and that made the difference.”
Looking forward, the Thunder’s Men’s Cross Country team would love to continue competing well together. “Our team goal is to do well at regionals and have seven boys on the line ready to have a good day,” Andersen offered. Massot added, “We obviously want to place as high as possible at regionals. If we could get 10th that would be a huge step forward from our 15th place finish last year. We want to come out and repeat our victory over Carthage and try to make a run at some of the teams we aren’t supposed to beat, like Augustana.” Walford said that if the team reaches the goal of making top ten at regionals, he would feel that they maximized their capabilities for the season.
The Men’s Cross Country team returns to action on Nov. 2 at the North Central College Open competition in Warrenville.

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