After a tough meet at Vanderbilt University a couple weeks ago, the WKU men’s and women’s cross country teams bounced back well in the Louisville Classic.
The men’s team was led once again by senior Endalow Takele, who finished third out of 358 runners with a time of 24:54.40.
Takele was followed by junior Julien Cuyeu with a time of 25:56.31, freshman Taylor Scarbrough with a time of 26:11.37, senior Kyle Wilson with a time of 27:18.64 and freshman Kyle Sprague with a time of 29:06.01.
The team finished 11th out of 41 teams, a huge jump up from its 20th-place finish at Vanderbilt.
As for the women, they were led by sophomore Aleja Grant, who finished with a time of 19:16.23. She was followed by junior Alexa Brainard who ran a 19:32.20, junior Savannah Ames with a time of 19:57.84, freshman Brianna Wolken with a time of 20:11.40 and junior Kaila Smith with a time of 20:11.69.
The team finished 22nd out of 48, which was also a jump up from its last place finish two weeks ago.
Both teams made huge strides from the last meet, as the top four runners on the men’s team improved their times, as did all the women who competed in both meets.
One runner who has clearly made an impact in the last two meets is Takele, who finished 12th in the Vanderbilt meet and third overall in this week’s meet.
Takele said the main reason he is doing so well this year is because he’s fully healthy for the first time in quite a while.
“I’m in better shape than in past years,” Takele said. “The last two years I had an Achilles injury which put me out six weeks.”
Takele said besides not being injured, he’s also just in better shape to perform this year than he has been in the past.
Takele also spoke on the team, and its growth from last meet to this meet.
“The team is doing really good,” Takele said. “I’m the old guy. Most of [my teammates] are freshmen. I know I have more experience, I’m trying to show my experience to them. I want to encourage them.”
Takele also talked about what that youth around him means for the future of the program, and he thinks the team is on track to be even better in the future.
“Next year, maybe we’ll have a better team, a strong team,” Takele said.
The season continues this Saturday, as WKU will compete in the Fast Cats Classic in Owensboro Oct. 8.
Reporter Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.