Runners finally pleased with run

After some disappointing finishes in past meets, the cross country team finally has a performance they can be proud of.

“Overall I am pleased with the effort by both teams today,” coach Cami Wells said of Saturday’s meet. “We had a really tough week of practice and they performed well all week, then they came out today and raced hard.”

The men’s team is where Wells has noticed the greatest amount of improvement.

“The men ran much more competitively than they did last weekend,” she said. “I am proud of their effort today.”

The men were led into the race by emerging team leader Edgar Ramirez, who finished with a time of 27:04 in the eight kilometer race.

He was closely followed by teammates Pat Maynard [27:32], Edwin Cheruiyot [27:37], Vivien Briard [27:54] and Kris Lachowski [28:03]. “The spread between our one to five runners was 59 seconds this week as compared to 2:33 last week,” Wells said. “The men have started to gel as a team and are focusing on steady improvement from day to day and meet to meet.”

With all of the pluses coming from the men’s race, there was only one thing that could keep their spirits from soaring high. That one thing was the denial from the NCAA for men’s leader Mario Rothmund’s request for medical hardship.

“This is a disappointment for Mario and the team,” Wells said. “But we will continue to move forward and work to improve.”

The women’s team also had some disappointment over the weekend as veteran Niki Suitor could not complete the race due to a pulled hamstring. Also Also, Andrea Pollack was suffering from allergies throughout the race.

“The women had some trials to deal with today,” Wells said. “But for every person who had a rough day, there was another teammate there to pick up the slack.

Much of that slack was picked up by team captain Amber Culp, who finished third overall with a time of 17:59 in the five kilometer race. Culp finished behind only Briana Shook and Everlyne Lagat, both of whom are All-American performers.

“Amber had a great race,” Wells said. “She beat several individuals she has never beaten before and really showed she is ready to compete with anyone.”

The teams next chance for improvement will come this weekend at the Central Collegiates meet in Kalamazoo, Mich.