Story by Mark McFarland, Assistant Sports Editor
The Racer cross country teams traveled to Louisville this past weekend and finished in 28th place in their respective divisions in the Pre-Nationals race.
The men built a lot of confidence as the sophomores took control and helped build up the team as they prepared for the OVC Championship race.
Mark Ventura, sophomore from Slade, Kentucky, finished first for the Racers and in 109th place overall with a time of 15:34. He finished 10 minutes before the next Racer, Gavin Galanes, sophomore from St. Charles, Missouri, who finished with a time of 25:41 and 123rd overall.
“We are just getting better every meet,” Head Coach Jenny Swieton said. “We are definitely the best team that we have been in at least six years. Our team average is faster than our number one guy has been in the past six years, so that’s really good.”
The men’s team has a bright future, Swieton also said, as they are a young team with three sophomores and two freshmen, many of the sophomores being the ones that lead the way for the team.
“Our sophomores are killing it,” Swieton said. “I think it was a really good experience to get them ready for the future, as much as it has been for seniors.”
As for the women’s team, they struggled to start the race, but by the time the second half came around they were able to help build their times a little bit better.
Leading the pack was Brittany Bohn, senior from Mahomet, Illinois, with a 72nd place finish and recording the second fastest 6K time in Murray State women’s history with a time of 22:03. Finishing next for the Racers in 109th place and a time of 22:27 was Meagan Smith, sophomore from Danville, Kentucky.
“On the women’s side I think we gained a little bit of confidence,” Swieton said. “The women have worked out really well and they haven’t put it into the races yet and I think it started to come together this weekend.”
The women’s team was pushed to the back to start off the race and Swieton believes that they might have struggled at first because of being intimidated by the size of the race.
Going into the OVC Championship, Swieton said she may change up the way the teams prepare for upcoming races.
“We will rest a little bit more; usually this week we would have three workouts but instead we will have two and go easy one day,” Swieton said. “Next week we would usually have two before a meet but we will only have one hard workout, with it being a little shorter than it has been.”
Both teams will look to build momentum into the OVC Championship in these next two weeks of training as well as looking to gain more momentum into the regional race.
The Racers men’s and women’s team will host the OVC Championship on Saturday Oct. 31 at Francis E. Miller Memorial Golf Course. The NCAA regional race will take place on Friday, Nov. 13 in Charlottesville, Virginia.