It was an exciting weekend for both the men’s and women’s cross country teams at Fernhill Park in Portland. The women won their fourth straight WCC title and the men finished in fourth place behind Portland, BYU, and Gonzaga.
The women: Junior Eva Krchova finished in first place for the Dons with a time of 20:35 for the 6k course. Freshman Elena Burkard was a close second behind Krchova with a time of 20:36, followed by senior Alice Baker finishing 6th with a time of 20:40, senior Laura Suur finishing 7th with 20:43, and senior Chloe Treleven finishing 10th with 20:53.
Other outstanding performances on the women’s side were made by junior Maor Tiyouri, placing 11th with a time of 20:57, sophomore Kate Jamboretz, finishing 30th with 21:39, and junior Sarah Pearson and senior Hillary Kigar, finishing with a time of 22:16 (41st place) and 22:33 (47th place), respectively.
The USF women finished first at the West Coast Conference with 26 points, while Portland finished second with 52 points, and BYU at third place with 85 points. The Lady Dons had a strong finish and won their fourth straight WCC title. With their competitive mindset and positive attitude, the Dons worked hard to achieve this victory.
The Dons ran together as a group in the top ten, with Krchova leading the way, followed closely by Burkard.
“We both ran together during this race, and kept pace with the other girls in the front. My focus was to stay in the front all the way through and then see what happens at the end,” Burkard said.
“In general, I just thought during the race ‘I want this, I can do this’. It was funny because at Conference was Laura Hottenrott-Freitag (Portland) who beat me at Nationals, and I was like ok, you are not going to beat me again. I was focused on beating her, which I did,” said Burkard.
The rain poured down during the races for both the men and the women, causing lots of mud and rain and making the race both fresh and exciting.
“I really liked this race because it was muddy and rainy, and that is usually what cross country is like in Germany,” said Burkard.
“At the beginning, I thought the course was going to be very flat and fast, but was flat with some hills and a lot of mud…then I really liked it.”
In a few weeks, the Dons will be back again for the NCAA West Regionals, and ready to compete against some of the best runners in the country.
“I’m getting into it, and it’s getting a lot more fun,” Burkard said, “I’m really looking forward to West Regionals, and I’ve only raced in three races up until now. Which, for me, is not that much because I’m used to racing more. I’m very excited.”
The men: In an exhilarating men’s race, the Dons finished fourth, narrowly missing third place by two points behind the Gonzaga Bulldogs with 105 points. Portland finished first with 32 points, followed by BYU with 33, and Gonzaga just two points ahead of USF with 103 points. Jose Madera placed 15th overall with a time of 24:21, with senior Steven Garboden finishing 16th (24:22) and senior Ganbileg Bor finishing 17th (24:24).
“The goals coming into the WCC meet was to perform as well as we could as a team and see how we compared with the rest of the conference,” freshman Eric Causey said.
“We all performed well, but we could have done better. We finished 4th in the conference with a close defeat to Gonzaga.”
Causey finished 25th with a time of 24:46, followed by sophomore Jarrett Moore placing 32nd (25:13), junior Charlie Johansen finishing 40th (25:57), and freshman Nick Hicks placing 43rd (26:13).
“This year has been a huge encouragement to do my best because all they [my teammates] have given and sacrifices made for the team. This year has been so much fun and I’m loving every second of it,” Causey said.
The NCAA West Regionals is a 10k race on the men’s side, a race that is both long and challenging. With two weeks until Regionals, the men are excited and anxious to race again.
“We are all looking forward to Regionals because it will be the race that we peak for and that means our performance will be best. It will be my first 10k and our first 10k as a team this year so it will be a whole different experience.”
The USF men and women’s cross country teams are set to compete at the NCAA West Regionals on Friday, November 9th.