Story by Tierra Reese, contributing writer
Records were set Saturday for Murray State at the 2016 Pre-National Invitational cross-country meet on the Lavern Gibson Championship course at Indiana State.
On the women’s team, Vallery Korir, sophomore from Iten, Kenya, and Mason Swenson, freshman from Phoenix, Arizona, broke records during the first 6K race of the season. Korir had an all-time best record for Murray State at 21:24, placing her in eighth place out of the 285 runners. Swenson made a time of 22:25 in her first 6K race of the season, making her seventh on Murray State’s all-time list and 57th for the competition.
Jenny Swieton, head coach, said she was pleased with the performance of her runners despite the fact that the course at Indiana State is the toughest the teams have ran on this season.
“I’m very proud of Val, she went out with the front group from the start and fought the whole way,” Swieton said. “She broke the school record in her first 6K on a very tough course. This was great preparation for the NCAA regionals.”
Mark Ventura, junior, from Slade, Kentucky, led the men’s team in the 8K race with a time of 26:01, placing him 53rd out of 134 competitors. Following behind Ventura from Murray State was Zach Balleau, freshman, from Eureka, Missouri, with a time of 26:27, putting him in 78th place.
Galvin Galanes, junior from St. Charles, Missouri, was unable to finish during this meet for reasons unclear. Swieton said this hurt the men’s team.
“The men raced tough as well and Gavin Galanes was unable to finish,” Swieton said. “That hurt us a little, but the other guys really put themselves out there. I’m very proud of the effort everyone gave.”
The men and women cross-country teams will compete at the Ohio Valley Conference Championship Oct. 29 in Nashville, Tennessee.