The men’s and women’s cross country teams kicked off their seasons last Friday at the Belmont Invitational in Nashville, Tenn. with key runners fighting ailments.
The men finished fourth in field of ten without junior David Altmaier, who was sidelined with a stress fracture in his shin. Western’s top runner, junior Enda Grandfield, ran but was slowed by dehydration.
“I didn’t have the best race yesterday. I’ve had recurring dehydration problems,” Grandfield said. “Not that I’m trying to blame it on that, but that’s why I’m not running well at the moment.”
With their top man off his game, other runners were able to step up their performance.
“We have some injuries, some nagging things,” said junior Chris Young. “I was very pleased. We stuck in there and had a good race.”
Sophomore Daniel Roberts led the charge with an eighth place finish.
“I was pretty pleased. It was better competition that I thought it would be.” Roberts said. “On any given night, we could have just as easily been second.”
Western’s women finished sixth out of 12 teams at Belmont, but the outcome could have been very different. Two runners, senior Olga Cronin and junior Bonita Paul, had to run unattached due to ineligibility.
Cronin and Paul almost didn’t run at all. Because of temporary ineligibility, the two could not ride with the team.
“We only got there five minutes before the race because we got stuck in traffic.” Cronin said.
Cronin finished third in the race followed by Paul in fourth.
“We did well,” sophomore Cara Nichols said. “We would have done really well if they had been scored.”
Nichols won the two-mile race in a time of 10:52, the fastest of her career.
The race was shorter than usual for the women, who normally run six kilometers – roughly 3.7 miles. The team liked opening the season with a short race.
“Two-mile was good for the first meet … just to know where everybody stands right now,” senior Janette Pike said.
Both teams will compete again in two weeks at Kereiakes Park in Bowling Green for the Old Timers Classic.
It is Western’s lone chance to run at home during the regular season.
Reach Adam Eadens at [email protected]