The cross country teams began their season at the Dartmouth Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 12. Squaring off against five teams across all levels of NCAA competition, the women finished third while the men finished fifth.
Due to the length of the season and the race’s falling on the sixth day of preseason, the Panther runners limited their efforts in the opening race to a controlled effort.
“We really held back on racing it and instead focused on running a more conservative tempo pace while working on the running together,” Head Coach Nicole Wilkerson said. “We wore heavier training shoes and not racing flats and really worked on pacing and strategy. It played out exactly how I had wanted it to and the day was really enjoyable.”
After running in tightly bunched pacing groups, Katherine Tercek ’16 set the pace for the women ranked third in the nation. She crossed the line in 15th (23:02.97), while Addis Fouche-Channer ’17 was close behind in 19th (23:27.68). Robin Vincent ’18, Adrian Walsh ’16, and Erzsie Nagy ’17 followed in 21st (23:31.49), 23rd (23:36.97),and 26th (23:52.91) respectively to round out the scorers.
Tercek believes that the team’s performance at Dartmouth proves how strong the squad will be this year, and is ecstatic to be running in a Panther uniform again after studying abroad last fall and fracturing her hip in the spring.
“It’s a fun group of girls who are all motivated and hard working,” Tercek said. “This was my first hitting the line before the race, I was so happy to be back running in the panther pack.”
Over the 8k distance, the men were slightly less successful than their female counterparts. Sam Klockenkemper led the Panther scorers with a 33rd-place finish (26:17.42) followed by Sebastian Matt ’16 in 38th place (26:22.61). The final three scorers finished just seconds apart with Brian Rich ’17 in 43rd (26:36.79), Sam Cartwright ’16 in 44th (26:45.91), and Tim McGovern ’18 (26:51.62) just behind.
Wilkerson is pleased with the progress her
team is making, but concedes that the road ahead will be a difficult one.
“We had a great year last year but think both teams would like to improve upon what we did last year and will do what we can to reach those goals,” Wilkerson said. “We have some incredible competition in the
Conference and at the regional level where many of the teams we will race against are top 10 teams in the Nation.”
The Panthers look to defend home turf on Saturday, Sept. 19, when they host the Aldrich Invitational. Races begin at 12:30 near the rugby field.