With a heat index of 100 degrees, the Racers still came out strong at the Eastern Illinois University Walt Crawford Invitational in Charleston, Ill.
The women finished second and the men finished third overall. Individually, the women were led by sophomore Alicyn Hester, who finished in sixth with a time of 19:15.27. She was followed Meagan Smith 10th, Emma Gilmore 13th, Abbie Oliver 15th, and Kati Heil 26th.
The men were led by Gavin Galanes who finished 13th with a time of 27.08.50. He was closely followed by Cole Cisneros in 19th.
Starting his third year on the team, junior Lucas Prather said he is going into the season with a positive, motivational outlook for not only himself but the team as well.
“We’re working our way up slowly but surely,” Prather said. “I think everybody gave a good effort. We all knew it would be hot and we still started out the meet with a positive attitude.”
This race comes only two weeks before the team’s big meet at the Notre Dame Invitational, where more than 100 teams meet to compete in a three-part race.
The EIU meet was just a step in the right direction toward meeting their overall goal.
“I was more excited for the team results,” Prather said. “I was just really happy with everyone’s performances. It just tells me we are all going to be confident and continue to work our way up for OVC.”
Head coach Jenny Severns says there are some goals to meet this week – stick together to run faster and always be confident.
“On both the men and women’s side they did really well,” Severns said. “On the women’s side they were all struck by the heat, and while it impacted certain people more than others, they knew exactly how to run out, pace themselves and end strong. I am proud of the whole team.”
Prather says his motivation comes from purely wanting to be there.
He said he leads by example and hopes his motivation will lead others to be excited and have a positive attitude for the season.
“This year we are all about improvement and doing better year to year,” Prather said. “I can only hope that I continue to improve and so does the team.”
The Racers will be back in action at the Austin Peay Invitational in Clarksville, Tenn., on Sep. 19 and then the team will travel to the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. on Oct. 3.
Story by Kelsey Randolph, Contributing writer