Category Archives: Cross country

Cross country teams head into final stretch

By Amelia Sniffin

11.9.19

Women’s Race

Last Saturday, the Wheaton Women’s Cross Country team traveled to Rock Island, Ill. to compete in the 2019 CCIW Conference Championship. Despite remarkably cold temperatures, the Thunder took first place, capturing the program’s fourth straight conference title.

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Women’s Cross Country Team places 15th at DIII Nationals

November 30, 2017

The Wheaton Thunder’s Women’s Cross Country team finished up their season with their final competition at NCAA National Championship on Saturday, November 18th. The team competed to win 15th place out of a 32-team field. This was the Women Thunder’s first time at nationals since 2014 and highest placing they’ve gotten since 1999.  

Johns Hopkins won first place in the Cross Country Championship with 96 points. UW-Eau Claire took second place with 191 points, WashU scored 202 points to capture third place, MIT took fourth with 210 points and Carleton came in fifth with 258 points. Only 28 points separated the Wheaton women from the 10th place finishers, RPI who scored 397 points. The Thunder rounded out the top-15 with 425 points. The top three performers on Saturday were Khia Kurtenbach from University of Chicago who finished first with a time of 20:39.20, Bryn Mckillop of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps who scored second in 20:45.90 and Johns Hopkins’ Ellie Clawson in third with a time of 20:47.00.

Freshman Hannah Roeske took 21st place out of 279 runners in a time of 21:16.30 as the top Wheaton runner. She won All-America recognition from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as a result of her performance. She told us, “Every race my goal is to do the best with the gift of running that God has given me. Finishing as an All-American was super exciting. It was really cool to see the way that God blessed this season and all the hard work that I put in. Finishing as an All-American was a goal that I would not have been able to accomplish without the help and encouragement of my teammates and coaches. Being able to share the experience of Nationals with my teammates was by far my favorite part of the weekend.” Roeske’s teammates Aryn Embretson and Erika Johnson, both juniors, scored 80th and 143rd with times of 22:06.30 and 22:33.50 respectively. Senior Rebecca Marcotte crossed the finish line at a time of 22:44.90 to capture 170th place and junior Megan Bailey took 198th in 22:56.00.  Junior Ellie Hawthorne placed 236th in 23:16.70 and Laura Barnes ran a time of 23:28.60 in 246th place.

The chilly winds and a hilly race course packed with runners did not set runners up for the best success on Saturday. In fact, three of Wheaton’s runners fell within the first mile because of the crowds. Despite the rough conditions, Hawthorne told us, “The Nationals experience was a lot of fun! It has been a season of hard work and more to get there, and there have been dreams of the possibility to run at nationals in the back of our minds for a long time so it was exciting to actually make it there! It was a great experience to get to race in an environment like that and to be out there with the best in DIII.”  

The falls and difficult running weather had an impact on Wheaton’s race, as the team was ranked 14th coming into the week and placed 15th. The athletes, however, chose to focus on the most important aspect of running. Johnson said, “It was a challenging race because of the crazy weather and having three of our teammates fall, but also a celebration of the gifts God has given us this season.” Embretson said that while the race results may not have been exactly what they were looking for, she could not be disappointed with her and her team’s efforts. She also added, “We got 15th in the region last year, and this year we were 15th in the nation; such a dramatic improvement is something to celebrate and be proud of. I’m already excited for next year’s season because I know we will come back even stronger.” Hawthorne added that the difficulties of Saturday’s race will just motivate them to keep pushing themselves as they look forward to next year’s season.

In an interview at the race, Coach David Walford shared that though the race was tough, he was really proud of Wheaton’s runners. “I felt like our girls executed the race really well and ran really hard. Hannah [Roeske] did really well coming in as a freshman. I’m really proud of her.” He also shared that this race was the first national race for all but one of Wheaton runners. He felt proud of how they performed and is excited to see what they can do next year.

Fourth place regionals finish for Cross Country Women

November 16, 2017

The Women’s Thunder Cross Country team finished fourth at the 2017 NCAA Division III Midwest Regional on Saturday at Rock Island’s Saukie Golf Course. UW-Eau Claire took first with 59 points. WashU scored 75 points in second place and UW-La Crosse finished third scoring 109 points. Wheaton scored fourth place with 126 points followed by Chicago, rounding out the top five with 131 points. UW-River Fall, UW-Platteville, St. Norbert, Illinois Wesleyan and UW-Stevens Point finished close behind to make the top ten.

Saturday’s race featured 263 runners from which UChicago’s Khia Kurtenbach finished first in 20:41.3. Close behind in second place, WashU’s Paige Lawler finished the 6K course in 20:46.4. Wheaton freshman Hannah Roeske scored the top performance for the Thunder in third place with a time of 20:51.8. Thunder senior Rebecca Marcotte finished next for Wheaton, placing 22nd in 21:35.0 and sophomore Aryn Embretson placed 26th with a time of 21:40.5. Junior Ellie Hawthorne took 37th place in 22:03.2 and junior Megan Bailey rounded out the Wheaton top five by posting a time of 22:04.1 in 37th place.

Wheaton’s women were able to utilize the fast course to run personal bests. “Saturday provided the perfect racing conditions for us, and we knew going in it was going to be a good day to run fast! The course is a fast course because it’s pretty flat and the ground was hard. I think we got out a little slower than we were expecting, mostly because of how many people there were and how difficult it was to move through the pack. But overall, everyone ran really well and gave what they had on Saturday. Everyone took a step forward setting a new PR which is really exciting,” Hawthorne told us. Bailey added, “I know we all gave it our all! We all ended with significant PRs, so that’s always great! It was a great course … just waiting for us to run some fast times. We normally pack run, but from the start our packs were broken up. We are stronger when we run together but this weekend we all fought the whole time, to run the best we could even though it was not what we are used to doing.” Coach Walford also said that he felt both women and men’s teams competed well.  

The girls expressed that though they did feel a bit of extra pressure from the regional meet, it didn’t affect their races too much. Embretson told us, “I wasn’t too nervous because the coaches kept telling us that we didn’t have to do anything special to qualify for nationals, we just needed to do what we’ve done all season. We only needed to have confidence in our abilities and that really took the pressure off. We’ve been able to improve because we all train together and in the races we are able to move up in the race by pushing each other and working together. We’ve all gotten stronger because of it.” Bailey added that she avoided nervousness by remembering not to doubt the ability God has given her and her team.  

Because they placed in the top five, the Women’s Cross Country team will be running at the NCAA Division III Women’s Cross Country Championships next Saturday in Elsah, Ill. Their trip to the Division III Championships will be Wheaton’s first since 2014. The whole team can’t wait for this opportunity. Hawthorne said, “Looking forward to nationals, nerves come again because it’s a bigger stage, but it’s also just another great opportunity to get to run! We ran this course at pre-nationals and it’s a pretty tough course, but the cooler weather and excitement of nationals will hopefully help it feel a lot better. We have worked hard all season and it is fun to see those efforts pay off by getting the opportunity to run at nationals.” Embretson expressed her desire to truly take in the whole experience and enjoy racing with her team for the last time this season. Bailey added, “I’m most excited to run alongside my teammates and run for God’s glory! I don’t feel nervous, because I know my God goes before me and carries me when I think I can’t run any faster. I hope to just have fun and enjoy one more week of training with my teammates.”

Men’s Cross Country team place twelfth at NCAA regionals

November 16, 2017

Last Saturday, the Thunder Men’s Cross Country team competed at the 2017 NCAA Division III Midwest Regional at Rock Island’s Saukie Golf Course. In their final meet of the season, the men placed twelfth on a 36-team field. North Central scored 34 points, taking first at the regional competition. UW-La Crosse won second place with a score of 81 points and WashU finished third with 124 points. Wheaton gained their 12th place victory scoring 369 points, and Carthage, Principia and Aurora finished right behind them.

In total, the men’s race consisted of 254 runners. Sophomore Seth Massot ran the fastest performance for the men’s Thunder, scoring 59th place with a time of 24:58.2. Miles Trujillo finished the 8K course in 25:08.5 to take 67th place and freshman Jonah Jones clocked a time of 25:21.6 in 76th place. Senior Luke Andersen finished right behind Jones with a time of 25:25.6 in 80th and Grant Alexander ran a time of 25:32.4 to take 89th place. Michael Larkin scored 116th place in 25:59.2 and Simon Peterson posted a time of 27:21.3 acquiring 185th place.  

Saturday’s running conditions could not have been better. Coach Walford told us, “For the first time this year we had a perfect day to run fast. It was cold, very hard ground and a fast course so I knew that not only our team, but everyone was going to run fast.” He was most certainly correct as Wheaton’s times were peppered with new personal records and seasonal bests. Wheaton’s top finisher Massot had a great race and commented on how his teammates also excelled on Saturday. “Miles had a huge race, really showcasing his ability. Jonah Jones again came up big as a freshman, and Duke [Luke] and Grant continued to take big steps and round out our scoring five. This season has been extremely encouraging in seeing how the team has come together, bottom to top. A couple of our guys didn’t have their best races on Saturday, but they battled through and the next guy was there to step up.” When asked how he handled the extra pressure of the regional meet, Massot answered, “The nerves were definitely running a bit higher than normal, mainly from just knowing that this was our last chance to see what we could do, see where our training had progressed to. But in the end you give what you can to God, you go for the best, but are happy with the result and look to God and the needs of the team. That’s how I control my nerves, remembering even though I am heavily invested in running, there are things that are more important.”

Coach Walford expressed his satisfaction with the team. “In the last three meets we showed our consistency as a team by beating Carthage and that is very satisfying. I believe we did this because our team was really motivated to get the most out of themselves on [Saturday], and each one of our guys raced their guts out, I’m very proud of each of them.”

The men’s season is drawing to an end as last Saturday’s meet was their finale. Both Coach Walford and Massot identified the team as a highlight for the season. “I love our team chemistry; the guys are really close to each other and are gelling well with each other. As a whole team, we have improved pretty much across the board; all the guys have become better runners this year and that is very satisfying to me,” Walford said. Massot added, “The highlight of this season was this team. The desire every guy showed to support and serve one another, to expect the best from themselves and their teammates, that made this season special. We didn’t perform as a group of individual runners, but as a team, and that is what enabled us to perform as well as we did.”

Women’s Cross Country are CCIW Champions

November 2, 2017

The Women’s Cross Country team took first place at the CCIW Championship on Saturday. Wheaton runners accounted for five runners in the top six, scoring 17 points. This impressive score is the lowest point total in the history of the CCIW Women’s Cross Country Championship. This was the Wheaton women’s second consecutive domination of the CCIW Championship, a back-to-back conference victory which has not occurred since 2007 and 2008.

The Wheaton women were able to conquer the competition through their strong individual performances. Freshman Hannah Roeske displayed the top performance on Saturday, finishing the 6K race with a time of 22:19. This impressive run earned Roeske the award for CCIW Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year and the CCIW Freshman of the Year. Following close behind in second place, senior Becca Marcotte finished with a time of 22:36. Junior Megan Bailey took third place in 22:36, and senior Ellie Hawthorne finished fifth with a time of 22:45. Junior Erika Johnson put up a time of 22:46 to capture sixth place. Additionally, Head Coach David Walford and the Thunder coaching staff were honored by being named the CCIW Coaching Staff of the Year for the second year in a row.  

At the beginning of the season, Walford had marked winning conference as a team goal. Having reached that goal, he said, “I am very pleased with how the season has gone so far; by and large we have maintained health and we [were] able to race well through this point of the season. We didn’t run one of our top runners, but our whole team rose to the challenge to make our team that much stronger.” Bailey added, “Winning is always nice, but as a team we had a lot of improvement in each race, and that was probably the biggest accomplishment this weekend. As a team we work together during races to push one another to run to the best of our abilities, and this weekend it worked to our advantage.”

Bailey was also excited about her individual performance, “I felt great on Saturday; I ran way faster than I realized and ended with a huge PR. It was great running alongside my teammates and working with them throughout the race. We are stronger together! That race was truly a gift from God.” Looking forward, she added, “I hope to continue to improve at each race, to stay mentally strong and remember God is with me every stride of the way.”  

As the team moves into the last few weeks of the season, they all hope to continue to stay focused in each race. “I believe the momentum that we have is the joy that we are experiencing in the process. They are enjoying being with each other and racing with each other. They know that they will perform well if they keep focusing on doing their own thing and not worrying about other teams,” Walford told the Record. Bailey agreed with this goal and finished by adding, “Most importantly, our goal is to run for God’s glory and not our own!”  

The Women’s Cross Country team will compete at the North Central College Open competition at St. James Farm in Warrenville on Nov. 2 before finishing the season with the regional and hopefully a chance to compete in the national championships.

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.

Men’s Cross Country takes second place

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.

Women’s Cross Country races for the win

October 12, 2017

The Wheaton Women’s Cross Country team scored first place at the Lucian Rosa Invitational, hosted by UW-Parkside at Dannehl National Cross Country Course last weekend.

The Division III, nationally ranked team pushed past the competition by scoring 32 points. Close on their tail, Marquette finished with 33 points and Illinois Cross Country Club came in third with 133 points.

The Women’s Cross Country team endured the hot weather and hilly course to post some impressive times. Thunder freshman Hannah Roeske took second overall, and was the top collegiate runner. She completed the 6K course with a time of 22:20.7. Senior Rebecca Marcotte finished third overall and as the second collegiate athlete with a time of 22:55.9. Senior Ellie Hawthorne finished eighth overall, securing seventh place among collegiate runners with a time of 23:09.0. She was closely followed by sophomore Aryn Embretson, who posted a time of 23:09.4 to finish ninth overall and eighth in the collegiate standings.

The women’s team enjoyed success in spite of the unfavorable weather and course. Hawthorne told us, “Parkside is a challenging course with more hills and terrain, but it keeps it fun and interesting! I am happy with how I performed individually and how the team did as a whole. Personally, it felt harder than a few weeks ago but I did my best to not settle throughout the course of the race, especially as it got more difficult towards the end. I ended up running a PR which was encouraging, even though it didn’t feel the best.” Hawthorne also added that the entire team ran tough and put forth a great effort. She felt the team attacked the hills well and ran strong.

Coach Wally also felt that the women’s team competed well. “For the most part we ran very intelligent races.” He said the women handled the hills very well, not being too scared of them but at the same time not being to aggressive.  

The team anticipates racing on a flatter course in more temperate weather and looks forward to more success in the coming weeks. “This coming weekend is pre-nationals which will be a good opportunity to run against some of our best competition. Our goal is to keep running strong and really just race this one. This point in the season is when it becomes fun because not so much relies on our individual times as it does on overall place which switches our attention to the competition. It also starts to feel more team oriented because we are all working together to place and beat other teams,!” Hawthorne explained.  

The Thunder Women’s Cross Country return to action next Saturday at Principia College’s Cowbell Classic in Elsah, Ill.

Men’s Cross Country competes in their first meet

September 14, 2017

Wheaton’s Men’s Cross Country team started the season with a fifth place win last Friday at the Aurora Spartan Cross Country Classic. Personal records abounded as the Wheaton men competed against ten other teams, scoring 123 points. Sophomore Seth Massot placed 14th as the first Wheaton Thunder competitor to cross the finish line, marking a time of 26:17.7. Right behind him, Senior Miles Trujillo finished in 17th place, recording a time of 26:25.8. Jonah Jones rounded out the Wheaton top three with a time of 26:47.6, which gained him 27th place out of 143 runners.

The team’s performance has raised the hopes of the athletes for the rest of the season. “We were very happy with our race on Friday. I think that six of our top seven ran personal bests, along with many more,” senior Tyler Jones said. “It was a nearly perfect day on a fast course so we have to remember that as we set expectations for the season, but it’s always nice to start the season on a positive note.” Senior Hudson Thomas agreed, saying, “I felt really good about how we raced on Friday. We had really good racing conditions and the course is a bit short so we had a ton of personal bests, which feels great going into the season.”

Though they weren’t pushing their hardest, Coach Walford said his team competed very well and he hopes to see them improve as the team starts each race more aggressively throughout the season.  

The athletes seemed to appreciate this strategy. “Going out slower and finishing faster is a great way to get comfortable with progressively pushing harder throughout the race and it’s always fun to pass a ton of people in the last couple of miles,” said Jones.

Coach Walford also praised the team dynamic this year and applauded the team captains on both the guys and girls teams. “The captains [seniors Tyler Jones, Hudson Thomas, Christy Baars, Kenzie Quinn, and Ellie Hawthorne] are the ones who really set the tone. The team dynamic is very strong.” Jones says he enjoys his new role as a senior and team captain, participating in “behind-the-scenes” happenings he didn’t notice as an underclassman. “I think my favorite part of being a senior is the power to set the tone for the culture of our team,” Jones said. “I think our team is as close as we’ve ever been for this time of year. We’ve got a great, goofy crew that knows how to work hard and still have a ton of fun.”

The Men’s Cross Country team anticipates improving throughout the rest of the season.  Walford has aimed his team towards success in coming races. “Our goal would be to get third [at conference] and as close to top ten as we can [in regionals].”

The athletes have also set strong goals for their individual seasons. “I set my PR for 8k at this past meet, 27:16. I’d love to run low 26 by the end of the season. I’ve been injured a lot so hopefully just being healthy will be enough to get me there,” Thomas said.  

Jones says he would enjoy competing at the highest level for his team, “I personally just want to make sure that I am always in the mix for a varsity [top seven] spot this year. We have a very deep team with many guys who can fill the … spots so everybody will have to run their absolute best or else another guy will be there.”

Wheaton’s Men’s Cross Country team will be back at it on Sept. 16, hosting the Gil Dodds invitational at 10 a.m. at St. James Farm in Warrenville.

A “W” for Women’s Cross Country

September 14, 2017

The Wheaton Thunder Women’s Cross Country team kicked the season off with a big win at the Aurora Spartan Cross Country Classic on Friday, Sept. 8. The team placed first out of eight teams, showing impressive performances across the board. Individually, freshman Hannah Roeske captured third place, coming in as the first Wheaton runner to cross the finish line at 22:46.9. Seniors Rebecca Marcotte and Ellie Hawthorne finished shortly after, crossing at 22:52.8 and 23:31.8 respectively. Those times earned them fifth and 10th place finishes. Thunder team members sophomore Aryn Embretson, junior Erika Johnson, sophomore Ally Stapleton and junior Megan Bailey all finished in the top twenty in a field of 117 runners.

The athletes seemed pleased with their results. Hawthorne, the team captain, said, “My [personal record] in the 6K is 23:31, which is the time that I ran on Friday. After being injured all of cross country last year, it was nice to be able to start on a strong note and improve on my times from sophomore year. I hope to be able to continue to bring that time down as the season goes on!”

Head Coach David Walford said that coaching staff viewed the first race as a chance for the upperclassmen to ease back into competition and for the freshman to get used to collegiate running. When talking about race strategy, Walford said they held the girls back to a moderate pace for first two miles, and then let them drop time on the last section. They hope this will allow the athletes to gradually build towards their maximum performance. Though they didn’t necessarily push their hardest, Walford said he thought the team competed very well. “It’s ridiculous that they did really, really well even though they weren’t maximizing their effort,” Walford said. This strategy appears to have helped the girls start out the season on a high note.  

“I would say I felt the best about half way through the race when we could start picking up the pace and my body still felt strong and I had more to give,” Hawthorne said. “I don’t think there was a time when I really felt the worst during this race, which is encouraging because I know I have room to improve.”

Walford has high hopes for the girls as the season continues and the team looks forward to  regional and national competitions. “To win conference would be a primary goal, and if we stay healthy I think that we can qualify for nationals,” Walford said. “That’s not an easy goal, but it’s an achievable goal. Seeing our first race I really do think that it’s possible.” The girls also hold these hopes while pushing towards individual goals as well. “As for goals for the team, we have our sights set high after three conference championships last year, but we will take it one race at a time and do our best with whatever God gives us each day!,” said Hawthorne.  

Wheaton’s Women’s Cross Country team will be returning to action when they host the Gil Dodds invitational at 10 a.m. on Sept. 16 at St. James Farm in Warrenville.