On Saturday the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams both competed in one of their largest meets of the season in the Louisville Classic at Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, KY.
Leading off of a fifteenth place overall finish from senior Ben Zywicki, the Men’s Cross Country Team soared to second place overall out of 38 teams, following Louisville University, a Division I program. The Orediggers also defeated other Division I teams including the University of Mississippi, Georgia Tech, UNC Greensboro, Georgia University, University of Kentucky and the University of Missouri. Additionally, Mines outlasted other ranked Division II programs including #4 Grand Valley State, #7 Southern Indiana, #8 Queen’s University, #10 Shippensburg, #11 Edinboro, #12 Harding, #23 Columbus State and #25 Bellarmine. Zywicki’s time of 24:03 was less than 45 seconds behind the leader and was in the top five of Division II runners.
Following Zywicki was fellow senior Aaron Swift (22nd, 24:15.65), sophomore Sean Gildea (30th, 24:25.67), senior Mack McClain (31st, 24:25.95) and sophomore Russell Drummond (71st, 24:51.98). Other finishers for CSM included Tyler Curtis (101st, 25:10.05), James Jackson (171st, 25:42.81), and Kenneth Rennick (236th, 26:18.35).
The second place finish is a step forward for the men’s team as they keep pace behind #1 Adams State and #2 Western State. Thanks to a combination of three seniors anchoring a strong team and a number of talented athletes in later classes, Mines looks to have one of their best chances to challenge the dominance from the current university leaders.
Overall, the Louisville classic should give great confidence to the men’s team for the remainder of the season. As the RMAC championship and National championship races draw closer, CSM will be a strong contender.
On the women’s side of the action, the trip to Louisville was a great experience and a chance to run against some of the nation’s top cross country teams. The lady Orediggers finished 26th overall and were led by junior Marie Patton. Patton, an ESPN Third Team All-Academic member and the 2009 Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Year, placed 46th at 17:57.15.
Behind Patton came junior Morgan Stumb in 72nd place and Holly Walker. Other top finishes belonged to Hannah Cooling (218th, 19:29.28), Elisa Mullikin (242nd, 19:46.07), Caitlin Kodweis (245th, 19:49.67), and Hannah Shuster (250th, 19:53.66). Walker and Mullikin, both freshmen, count the Classic as their second ever collegiate race and, along with a number of sophomores, show some strong signs that point to a bright future in Women’s Cross Country.