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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Cross Country overcomes heat at Badger Classic

Photo by Maggie Bean
Junior Brittney Feivor finished third in the 4k this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Images)

Yesterday evening was a hot and humid one in Verona, Wisconsin. While most people were finishing work and school and finalizing fun plans for this three-day weekend, the Marquette men’s and women’s cross country teams were putting themselves through about 20 minutes of sheer pain and exhaustion. Such is the life of a competitive distance runner. Despite the muggy conditions, Marquette performed well at the Badger Classic, with the men’s team taking third and the women placing fourth.

“The heat and humidity were challenging, but I was happy with the results,” said head cross country coach Mike Nelson. Some runners struggled in the heat, but Nelson said that the takeaways from the meet were generally positive.

Perhaps the most positive takeaway was Alec Miller’s performance. The sophomore finished second overall in the men’s 6k (3.72 mile) race with a time of 19 minutes, 0.7 seconds, about twelve seconds behind the winner, Loyola’s Mitch Baum. Nelson was pleased with the poise Miller showed during the race. “He was relaxed, and then made his move toward the end” to pass a few runners and nab second place.

Two freshman finished in the top four for Marquette’s men’s team as well. Jon Klaiber placed ninth overall with a time of 19 minutes, 17.7 seconds, while Brad Eagan took 16th overall in 19 minutes, 33.5 seconds. Nelson said that he knew the two youngsters were pretty good, but their showing was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. Junior Nate Gomoll was third on the team and ninth overall, while senior William Hennessy finished fifth for Marquette and was the team’s final scorer, taking 19th overall.

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On the women’s side, junior Brittney Feivor was third overall in the women’s 4k, which was about .2 kilometers long (2.6 miles total) race in 15 minutes, 12 seconds. Feivor was in lead with about 400 meters to go, but finished several seconds behind the top two finishers. Still, Nelson said that it was a great start for Feivor and that he expects her to be a team leader and top runner throughout the season.

The next few Marquette finishers were sophomore Jennifer Parker (11th overall), freshman Nora Keller (17th) and junior Abigail Busse (27th). Senior Nicole Ethier took fifth on the team and 29th overall, finishing the first cross country race of her life. Ethier had been strictly a middle distance track runner until this fall, so her first race was a success.

Although a few of the top runners on the women’s team didn’t race, competing on the Thomas Zimmer Cross Country Course was good experience for both teams. Marquette will run on the same course at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet in November. Nelson said that it is a “gorgeous” course and arguably the best in the country, but the only downfall yesterday was the lack of shade on the course. This left runners even more susceptible to fatigue from the heat, something Nelson was very conscious of.

“As a a coach, you have to be careful what you tell your athletes these first few meets. You want to say ‘run tough,’ but at the same time, they need to run smart (in the heat).” Nelson added that he was careful how he coached his athletes yesterday, for fear that they might have lingering problems in the future from the heat. Fortunately, none of the runners suffered from dehydration, heat stroke or similar symptoms.

It is obvious that the man and women can improve their times, since there are still at least two months left in the season. Overall, it was a strong start for both teams, and one that Nelson saw coming. “It was about what I expected, but as a coach, that’s what you want.”

Both teams compete next at the National Catholic Championships on Friday, September 18, in Notre Dame, Indiana.

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