Cross Country falls short of lofty goals

The John Brown University cross-country team spent their Saturday running in the Midstate Classic in Wayfield, Kan. The team begins to prepare for conference, which is two weeks away.

Matt Pearson, Head Coach, wanted each player to set their own PR, or personal record. The course is characterized as a flat and fast one. Pearson said the team had a good performance there last year. He wanted history to repeat itself.

Unfortunately, only one team member set a PR as senior Stephen Borengasser ran a 30:01.21 in the men’s 8K.

Sophomore Marcos Gutierez finished 48th out of 219 runners with a time of 26:38.72. Kenney Crane, freshman, finished next in 138th place with a time of 29:03.01. The men’s team finished with 545 points, placing them 20th out of 25 teams.

The women’s team had no PRs, despite coach’s hopes.

In the women’s 5K, junior Valerie Kliewer finished 64th out of 167 runners with a time of 20:17.92. Junior Melissa Roth finished close after in 77th with a time of 20:34.14. Sophomore Kari Miller crossed the finish line in 94th with a time of 21:09.33. The woman’s team scored 404 points, landing them 17th out of the 20 teams that were represented.

The team’s last race on October 6 at Oklahoma Baptist University turned out a success.

Pearson said eight out of the 11 male runners on the team clocked their own PRs. Sophomore Tekste Gebreslasse crossed the line at 27:01 and Gutierrez finished at 26:20.

Meanwhile, the female runners did not achieve any new PRs, but they all ran a good race.

The men’s team has had an injury filled season. Kyle Schmidt, senior runner, explained, “Gebreslasse has a potential stress fracture in his foot. Sare Goitom didn’t finish [this past] race because he keeps hurting his knee, and I’m out for the season because I have Achilles tendinitis. Gebreslasse is the number two runner, Goitom is number three and I am number four. We’re struggling to fill in that gap and make us a competitive team.”

Schmidt does not lose hope. He said, “If the team keeps working hard and focuses on the conference race, I think we’ll be okay.”

The season will finish out Nov. 3 at conference. For now the athletes are prepping for the big race. Coach Pearson is “tapering down with training” and aims to rest his players. He looks to have them positioned to run to their fullest potential.

Sophomore Kelsey Rea feels positive about the upcoming conference meet.

“The season started off a little slow, but as we put more work into it, we improved,” Rea said. “I would say we are close to peaking, which is good because conference is in a couple of weeks. That is when we want to perform at our best.”

JBU falls into is a “fairly tough conference,” said Pearson, which makes qualifying difficult. However, the potential does exist for a few runners to quality for nationals.