The men’s and women’s cross country teams both took first place at the Illinois College Invitational and are now setting their sights on the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship.
The women took first with the lowest possible score of 15 and an average runtime of 23:53 for the 6K, while the men also grabbed the first spot with a score of 21 and an average runtime of 27:18 for the 8K.
Head coach Tim Schwegler said the Invitational went well and the Bulldogs ran hard. Schwegler said some of the other schools held back some of their better runners, possibly because they were tired, which was disappointing.
Schwegler said he expected the Bulldogs to take the top spots, but assumed it would be more difficult than it was. Despite breezing past the competition, he said it was good practice for the runners.
Madeline Bostick, who crossed the finish line first for the Bulldogs and the women overall, set a personal record with a runtime of 23:38.
“I kind of went out with my group of teammates and then after the first mile I just started pushing the pace and I just kept going,” Bostick said. “I ended up with a PR in the 6K and it was also a PR for my 5K time too, which was really cool.”
After a sickness that required her to leave school and prevented her from running last year, Bostick said she finally feels like she is getting back to the point of performing at her best.
Bostick said while there wasn’t a lot of competition from other schools, it was a good experience competing against other teammates.
Tom Cormier finished first for the Bulldogs and the men overall with a run time of 26:46 for the 8K. Despite competing against mostly Div. III teams, Cormier said Truman has to take the wins when it can.
“Our team also did very well at grouping up and pushing each other throughout the race and working with the teammates around us,” Cormier said.
While Truman will only compete against one of the schools again in the GLVC Championship, Cormier said the team scores do indicate future potential and provide a confidence boost for the cross country teams.
“Overall we competed really hard and I think we got a good momentum now going into the conference meet in two weeks,” Schwegler said.
To prepare for the GLVC Championship, Schwegler said the teams have been cutting down practices and sharpening up — meaning fewer morning practices, shorter runs and more rest.
Schwegler said the GLVC Championship is wide open as of right now. While he said he always expects Truman to finish in the top five, realistically placings could range from fourth to eighth for the women and sixth to 10th for the men. He said Truman is in a tough conference, so it’s not out of the ordinary to have an open field.
The GLVC Championship is a flat course, Schwegler explained, so the Bulldogs are expected to run fast throughout its length. The last time Truman competed on a flat course, Schwegler said he thought some of the runners were holding back, but he said that should not be an issue Oct. 26.
Cormier said the men’s team also has a few guys consistently dropping times on their personal records, meaning they are getting faster each race.
Bostick said she has a personal goal of finishing the race in the low 23s and hopefully beating the personal record established at the Illinois College Invitational.
The men’s and women’s cross country teams compete next in the GLVC Championship Saturday, Oct. 26 in Evansville, Indiana.