Article by: Colin Gowin
The Blackburn College Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Teams traveled to Elsah, Ill. for a race at Principia College on Friday, Sep. 4. It was a hot, sunny day that saw temperatures reaching near 95 degrees. Races started at 5:30 pm with a four kilometer (2.5 miles) women’s race and was followed by a six kilometer (3.75 miles) men’s race. The meet served as a good benchmark for Blackburn, seeing St. Louis Intercollegiate Conference (SLIAC) opponents from Principia College and Westminster College, who they will see again at the SLIAC Championships on Oct. 31.
The women’s race proved to be an interesting event, as five of the seven Blackburn runners have never ran cross country before this year. “From my standpoint, it was nice to field a full women’s squad a cross country meet. With this year’s team being relatively new to the sport we know we have our work cut out for us as far as adjusting to the intensity of what running is about. The team showed a lot of heart in this first meet and I’m sure we will improve incrementally in comparison to the rest of the competition this year,” said Head Coach Mark Hopping. Sophomore Makayla Grove (Lewistown, Ill.) was the lead runner for the Beavers and finished in 21st place. The team was rounded out by senior Catherine Young (Millstadt, Ill.), junior Kaitlyn Pugh (West Alton, Ill.), senior Allie Matt (Viola, Ill.), sophomore Wendy Pocklington (Girard, Ill.), junior Keragan White (Coffeen, Ill.) and senior Sarah Collman (New Douglas, Ill.) in that order.
The men’s race was dominated by Columbia College, which a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) college out of Hannibal, Mo. Columbia College scored a perfect score of 15 in the race. Blackburn was led by sophomore Tim Lacy (Jerseyville, Ill.) who finished in 20th place. The pack of senior Nathan Speckhart (Girard, Ill.), freshman Jakob Thornton (Chatham, Ill.), and sophomore Zach Felkel (Bethalto, Ill.) followed closely behind. Blackburn was rounded out by senior Colin Gowin (Pittsburg, Mo.), sophomore Noah Daum (Carrollton, Ill.) and sophomore Rob Wingerter (Chester, Ill.). “Tim Lacy picked up right where he left off last season as the number one runner, but today he had six teammates chasing him and not far behind. There is still so much more room for improvement before this season comes to a close. I think we are going to keep getting better and better,” said Head Coach Mark Hopping.
Blackburn’s next meet is Friday, Sep. 4 in Springfield, Ill. The race will be held on the campus of the University of Illinois-Springfield and will begin with a women’s race at 5:00 pm and the men’s race following directly after.