Redbird women’s and men’s cross country take third place at home
NORMAL, sick. – In the first event of the season for most Illinois State cross country teams, both the women’s and men’s teams placed third in their annual home tournament.
“We have a very good turnout every year,” said the director of athletics, head cross-country coach Jeff Bovee when asked about the home meet. “To see the whole Redbird family come here – track and field athletes, fellow student-athletes, administrators – it’s awesome.”
Opening the afternoon with the women’s side of the race, the Redbirds scored 65 team points, behind Butler (27) and Wartburg (40) and ahead of UNI (102), Eastern Illinois (137), the team “B” from Iowa (185), Illinois Springfield (212), SIUE (230) and Heartland CC (250).
Caroline Meyers was Redbird’s top finisher, as the senior covered the 6,000 meters in a time of 21:52.3 – the third-best collegiate time at that distance for Meyers as she placed sixth overall. Claire Fuhlhage placed eighth, finishing the 3.7+ miles in 21:58.9, an average of 3:40 per mile. Ailey Mitchell finished 10th, giving ISU three runners inside the top 10, in a time of 22:04.1, with Maddi Exline covered the course at Weibring Golf Course in 22:23.5, placing 16th.
“Women, we’re solid through four,” Bovee said. “We just need to close some gaps in area five and six, and I think we’ll be in a good position as we go forward.”
Lauren Schulze surged over the final 2,000 meters to finish 26th in 23:07.7 as the team’s fifth runner. First-year student Maggie Roseau – his second competition of the season – finished sixth for the Redbirds and 29th overall with a time of 23:14.2. Mattison Plummer was the seventh runner in the ISU, crossing the finish line in 23:40.1. Mackenzie Brownrigg (43rd, 24:02.6), sought a spot in the team’s top seven in the race.
On the men’s side, the Redbirds rank third with 62 team top-five finishes, finishing behind Wartburg (43) and Eastern Illinois (54). Illinois Springfield (65), Northern Iowa (163), SIUE (174), Iowa “B” Team (179) and Heartland CC (179) all finished behind the ‘Birds.
Baptiste Tardiveau led the way for the Redbirds, finishing fifth in 24:47.1 for the 8,000 meters, while his compatriot Mathis Chavand took second place among ISU runners with a time of 25:06.2, placing ninth.
“I know Baptiste isn’t thrilled with his race, but I think he felt pretty good about it,” Bovee said. “There are a few areas in the middle of the race that he can work on but 8km is a long way to go for a newcomer, going from three miles to five – that’s a big adjustment – and I thought that it opened well. Zack Loomis got on well at the start of the race, then he let him go, and that’s where he has to work and improve.”
Loomis, a sophomore, finished in 16th place, running the five miles in 25:31.7, his second-lowest 8,000-meter time of his college cross-country career. Yusuf Baig and Charlie Kistner finished consecutively for the last two Redbird markers – placing 18th and 19th – as Baig covered the 8km in 25:41.6 and Kistner 25:43.7. Each of the ISU’s top five runners is in their first two seasons of participation in the Redbird program. Jeff Luka ran a time of 27:01.7 to finish 45th, to complete the six ISU runners in the field.
“We didn’t have three of our top five guys here today, so it was a big hit,” commented the Redbird head coach. “Those three have little issues, and we want to save them for later in the season. Obviously we’ll be a much more competitive team when we get them all back. I was happy with a lot of our young guys. .with the way they’ve stepped up today.Overall I can tell you it’s a better start than where we were last year, and I think we’re going to be set for a very good season.”
After taking the day off next weekend, the ISU will travel to Columbia, Mo. to compete in the Gans Creek Classic, hosted by the University of Missouri – the host of the 2022 NCAA Midwest Regional.
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