The Coast to Coast Battle in Beantown proved to be some new territory for the IU cross-country teams.
Friday’s meet was the first time the Hoosiers have traveled to Boston for the event. It also ended up providing some of the best competition both the men’s and women’s teams have experienced this season so far.
However, the loaded field was something Coach Ron Helmer and his 18th-ranked women’s team and 21st-ranked men’s team expected. Along with IU, there were multiple ranked teams present in Boston including Providence (7th) and Georgetown (25th) on the women’s side and Syracuse (3rd) and Illinois (27th) in the men’s race.
Both IU teams managed to hold their own against the talented field. The women’s team finished in second place with 78 points after winning a tiebreaker with Georgetown and finished just seven points behind first place Providence, who finished with 71.
Even though the men’s team didn’t have as successful of an outing as the women's team, the men still managed a third-place finish with 106 points. Syracuse ended up in first with 35 and IU’s Big Ten rival, Illinois, was second with 56.
“On the women’s side, I thought they ran really tough," Helmer said. "We were close enough that we felt like we had a shot at the 7th-ranked team in the country. On the men’s side, we weren’t bad, but Syracuse and Illinois both just ran really good and we couldn’t catch up.”
In the women’s 5k, Helmer said he got what he expected from junior All-American Katherine Receveur who finished second overall as an individual with a time of 17:03. Junior Maggie Allen finished eighth with a time of 17:23 and was edged out for the seventh spot by senior Heather MacLean of UMass-Amherst.
Meanwhile, Helmer said he was pleased with junior Brenna Calder’s effort in closing out the race late, as she finished 12th with a time 17:31. Junior Haley Harris finished 26th and sophomore Lexa Barrott ended up 30th to round out the scoring for the women’s team.
“I think the women’s team came out of this meet realizing they can run with some of the best teams in the country,” Helmer said. “That’s a hurdle we’ve been trying to get over with the women’s team for a long time and I think this group is starting to realize how good they can be.”
In the men’s 8k, the Hoosiers struggled to match up with Illinois, who took the top two individual spots and Syracuse, who took spots three through five. Sophomore Ben Veatch was the top finisher for IU in sixth with a time of 24:23. Sophomore Kyle Mau also cracked the top 10, with a 10th-place finish with a time 24:32.
Juniors Kyle Burks and Joe Murphy grouped up to finish 28th and 29th and freshman Cooper Williams wound up 36th to complete the score for IU.
“I don’t think the men’s team did anything special today but we just ran really solid races,” Helmer said. “You need some special races to beat really good teams but we’re not going to look too much into that because we had solid races from everybody today.”
Even though Friday’s race pitted IU against some of the best teams in the country, Helmer said he still sees it all as a part of the training process for later in the season.
“It’s still only September and we’re still training like everybody else,” Helmer said. “We still have a lot of time to improve and we’ll just keep getting better as we go.”
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