Story by Blake Bernier, Staff writer
With several top teams participating in Memphis Twilight Cross-Country Classic, both of the Murray State cross-country teams finished in the top half in Memphis.
The race featured 26 teams for both men and women with 249 women running the 5K race and 258 men running the four-mile race. Murray State earned 12th place in the men’s division and eighth in the women’s division with the top finishers being senior Brittany Bohn for the women and sophomore Mark Ventura for the men.
“I just went in it and went for it,” Bohn said. “I didn’t know if I was going to fail or if I was going to make it but I put everything out there to see how it went to start the season.”
Bohn finished in 27th with a time of 18:36.42, which was a minute and a half behind the first place time turned in by University of Alabama freshman, Rachael Reddy.
“You can only control yourself so you just get as good as you can possibly be,” Head Coach Jenny Swieton said. “That’s the only way you can control the outcome, is to run as fast as you possibly can and hopefully that’s faster than your opponent.”
Ventura completed the course in 33rd, running 20:56.52.
Once again, an Alabama runner set the pace as junior Antibahs Kosgei finished in 19:49.75 a full 18 seconds ahead of second place.
“It was a pretty big meet and we didn’t expect to come out ahead of as many teams as we did but we came out in the top half and beat all of the teams we wanted, except UT Martin,” Ventura said.
This year five male runners finished with a faster time than their top time in the same race in 2012.
Swieton said that the team has improved bounds over where they had been. In the 2012 meet, the men’s team finished 17th out of 21 teams.
Swieton said that cross-country is more about place than time because the course conditions can change from race to race and no course is the same as the next.
“Every course is different, so you have a personal record (PR) and that means something,” Swieton said. “But even from year to year on the same course it could be totally different if it’s muddy one year and not the next so it’s just about racing and we race for place.”
The Racers’ upcoming schedule will include meets Sept. 19 at Vanderbilt, Oct. 2 at Notre Dame and Oct. 17 at Louisville before they host the OVC Championship on Halloween at Miller Memorial Golf Course.
Bohn said her goal this year is to finish high at the OVC championships, stay healthy and be motivational for her teammates.
“This year has turned out pretty good so far so hopefully good things come from the rest of the year’” Bohn said.