Harriers keep improving

The cross country team had mixed emotions after the Central Collegiates meet this past weekend.

On one hand, neither team could come away with a win. On the other hand the team attained their main objective of improving throughout the season.

The men reached a higher level of self improvement, with four of their eight runners finishing with personal bests.

Edgar Ramirez (26:56.90), Vivien Briard (27:48.07), Jeff Wright (28:28.50), and Steve Varietta (28:42.82) all ran faster than they’ve ever ran before en route to a sixth place team finish.

“The men improved as a team this week and we just have to keep focusing on improving every time we race,” coach Cami Wells said. “They are continuing to work toward their goals and are making progress.”

The women also made progress this weekend as Leighann Kramer (18:57) and Caroline Kipchaba (19:07) both ran personal best times.

Amber Culp added to the record-breaking day, running a season-best time of 17:50.

Even with all the record-breaking, the ladies couldn’t overcome the efforts of Mid-American Conference foes Ball State and Western Michigan.

“I was disappointed in the third place finish, especially because we were beaten by two MAC teams,” Wells said. “But on the other hand, we beat some strong teams like Loyola and Illinois-Chicago.”

The women were hindered again by injuries and sickness, which clearly hurt their chances.

The women went into the race without the services of Niki Suitor and Elise Gould. On top of the injuries to Suitor and Gould, the Falcons hindered with a sick Andrea Pollack, who is recovering from a cold.

But overall, Wells is pleased with her team’s performance considering the circumstances.

“Right now, we have raced against most of the top teams in the conference and we have been very competitive every time out,” she said. “We are on track with our goals and I am happy with the team.”

The next two weeks, the Falcons will focus more on improvement, as their next meet will not be until Oct. 10.

“We are reaching the time of the season when we will start doing speed work and focus on racing,” Wells said. “I want to see a spread of 30 to 45 seconds between our top five runners.”

The Falcons will try to maintain their intensity as they prepare for the Auburn Invitational in Alabama next week.