For the first 15 laps of the women’s Little Fifty relay race, it looked as if Gamma Phi Beta had the steady lead.
But a pack of former IU athletes, Team X, came from fourth place to grab the gold with a time of 1:09.46 in the seventh annual Little Fifty.
For the men’s race, it was much clearer: Team Mercury grabbed the lead from the beginning and never fell behind. Mercury finished the race with a time of 54:15.
The 50-lap men’s and women’s relay races featured 25 teams of four people each and kicked off Little 500 weekend Thursday at the Robert C. Haugh Complex.
Kyla King, steering committee member for the IU Student Foundation, said despite early rain, the race went as well as expected.
“The weather was great, the competition was great and the runners were great,” she said.
Coming in right behind Team X for the women’s race was Kappa Kappa Gamma. Phi Gamma Delta came in second in the men’s race.
Team Mercury and Team X placed first during the Little Fifty qualifications. Team Mercury also won last year’s Little Fifty.
Even though Team X started off slowly, runners and seniors Emily Zulauf, Lauren Keefe, Ashley Sommer and Bliss Cook said it was part of their strategy.
“We were pacing ourselves,” Cook said.
Keefe, Sommer and Cook were all varsity athletes for the IU cross country team for three years while Zulauf played volleyball for IU. Before the year started, the four decided to run in the Little Fifty. It was something they said they thought would be fun.
The team started to train in January and began running as often as possible.
“It was our last chance to leave a mark on the University,” Sommer said.
But Team X was humble with its athletic background.
“We were battling some injuries,” Cook said. “But we all made it through healthy, and we did it as a team.”
Team Mercury was a little more confident in its race. Senior Mike Rizzo said there wasn’t a single moment during Little Fifty where the team felt it was going to fall behind.
“We were worried about running our own race,” Rizzo said. “We went out there and ran the way we should.”
Senior Andy Krack said there will be only one member of the team returning, junior Josh Smith, and said he’s going to miss the team after he graduates. But in the end, the team just wanted to run hard and win.
“We run for each other,” senior Michael Philippsen said. “It hurts while you’re doing it, but then once you’re done, you just want to keep coming back.”
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