The end of an up-and-down season

In what became their last race of the season the Marquette women’s and men’s cross country teams finished 11th and 12th, respectively, at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.

Junior Brice Cleland led the men across the finish line of the 6.2-mile race when he finished in 27th place in 31:52. Close behind Cleland was sophomore Blake Johnson, who finished in 30th place at 31:55.

Sophomore Dominick Rosario said the team’s performance was “really great.”

“Going into the race there were only two of us who had ever run in a regional meet before,” Rosario said. “This was a new experience for most of us, but we kept our heads together and beat our ranking. We wanted to score as close to 300 as possible, and we scored 320.”

In the last two meets, Cleland has led the team across the finish line. Nelson said experience helped Cleland end his season better than it started.

“He knew that if he killed himself in races and training early on in the year that he’d run out of gas by the time mid-November rolls around,” Nelson said.

Before the meet, Nelson wanted his men to compete with Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and Miami of Ohio because they were the three teams ranked in front of Marquette. Marquette was only able to defeat Miami of Ohio, which finished 14th. Eastern and Central Michigan finished ninth and 10th, respectively.

Rosario said he wasn’t disappointed with beating just one of those teams.

“They had a little bit more than us Saturday,” he said.

With the season over, Nelson said he looks forward to the team’s bright future.

“I was excited with the way we performed at conference and regionals, and since they’re all coming back next year I’m excited for what they’ll do in the future,” Nelson said.

On the women’s side, junior Molly Arenberg was the first Golden Eagle across the finish line, landing her in 53rd place with a time of 22:21 in the 3.7-mile race. Junior Laurie Dalrymple and senior Jayne Grebinski finished 65th and 66th, respectively.

Nelson said during the race the women were placed as high as ninth. With 200 meters to go, Grebinski, who was in 30th place at the time, struggled with heat issues the rest of the way, which caused her to drop to 66th place.

Junior Olivia Johnson said the meet and season were filled with mixed emotions and that the season as a whole was a challenge.

“The way we ran in practice and our workouts we thought we were a pretty good team,” Johnson said, “but we never showed our total capabilities this year. We were hoping to finish the race in sixth place, but it was very competitive out there.”