Young runners impress
The 2012 cross country season is officially underway after both UI teams placed third Saturday in Spokane at the Clash of the Inland Northwest. The women’s team, composed entirely of freshmen, scored 69 while the men’s team scored 87 with it’s mostly freshmen group.
The Vandals focused on running freshmen and newcomers for the first meet of the season, while most of the veteran runners did not compete. Coach Wayne Phipps said the young runners impressed but there is always room for improvement, especially after the first meet.
“That first meet is always going to be difficult from a number of aspects, but I think they responded well and handled themselves well,” Phipps said. “There was definitely some excitement and a lot of nerves leading up to the race, which can lead to some inconsistencies. A couple of them went out too quick and a couple went out a little too easy, but that’s why we run this first race.”
Freshman Halie Raudenbush led the way for the Vandals in the women’s 4-kilometer race with her time of 15:08.1 minutes. She finished ninth overall.
“It was really good to finally race and see where we’re at and get a race under our belts,” Raudenbush said. “Overall, I think we did a very good job of competing against people who have been doing this for a few years.”
Abby Larson finished No. 15 in 15:22.1 and Stephanie Rexus crossed in 15:26.1 to finish second for the Vandals. Alex Sciocchetti and Marquita Palmer rounded out the Vandal scoring, finishingNo. 20 and No. 21 respectively.
“It was great for our freshmen to see that kind of competition early on this season without any real pressure,” Phipps said. “No matter what we do in practice, it can never replace the experience of learning how to race.”
On the men’s side, senior Jeff Osborn finished first for the Vandals andNo. 26 overall with his time of 19:29.9 in the 6-kilometer race. Freshman Santos Vargas finished next in 19:39.9. He was 27th overall.
Freshman Colton Hastings (20:06.3) crossed the finish line No. 36 overall ahead of his sophomore teammate Cayle Turpen (20:17.2) who finished No. 39. Freshman Kasey Hattrup was No. 40 (20:20.2) to round out the scoring for the Vandals.
“I think they probably were less consistent throughout the race than the women were,” Phipps said. “I think it took them a little while to figure things out, and they were probably a little too conservative early on, but that’s not really a bad thing in your first race of the year. I think this was a good learning experience for them.”
The Vandals don’t compete this weekend, but will head to Seattle for the Sundodger Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 15.
“With guys like Santos coming in, and Cayle and Colton coming on this year, we know we need those guys to be right with me as we look forward to WAC,” Osborn said of his teammates. “I think we had a good effort today.”
Stephan Wiebe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org