For the second straight year, the men’s cross country team is heading to the NCAA
The Hoosiers placed six runners on the All-Regional squad as four men and two women finished in the top 25 of their respective races.
The men clinched their tournament berth during the weekend with an automatic qualification by finishing second in the 10K NCAA Great Lakes Regional with 70 points. The men finished 20 points behind Wisconsin.
Senior Ben Hubers led the way for Indiana in the 10K run, finishing fifth overall in 30:21.3. Running right next to him was junior Zach Mayhew, who also finished in 30:21.3 and was awarded sixth place. Andrew Poore placed seventh with a time of 30:25.0. Adrien Dannemiller grabbed the 23rd spot at 30:52.0, and Andy Weatherford rounded out IU’s scoring with a time of 31:00.0, good for 29th place.
The men ran at a controlled pace, increasing their speed in 2K increments. Their plan was to run well but not overtax themselves before the NCAA Championships next Monday.
“They did exactly what we wanted them to,” IU Coach Ron Helmer said. “They moved well and recovered fairly quickly. That’s a reaffirmation that we’re getting out of the race exactly what we needed to, so everyone’s encouraged.”
The women also ran this weekend, taking seventh place with 191 points as their season came to an end.
Junior Samantha Ginther paced the women in their 6K race. She completed the race in 20:58.3 at 14th overall. Senior Chelsea Blanchard finished 25th in 21:16.6. Junior Caitlin Engel and seniors Helene DeLone and Breanne Ehrman were the other women to score for the Hoosiers.
Though the women’s season came to a close Saturday, Helmer said he was pleased with the way they ran after their Big Ten Championships performance.
“We didn’t get the result we still would have liked to (have) had, but I felt like we had a far better effort,” Helmer said. “They could have gone and packed it in and hung their heads after a pretty poor showing at the Big Ten meet, but I thought they represented themselves well.”
Still, the women’s performance never met expectations this year.
“I’m still disappointed we weren’t able to accomplish more,” Helmer said. “We came up a little short on race days on a regular basis, so that’s probably as much on me as anybody else. We came up short of our goals and short of what I think is reasonable to expect, given our talent, but I think it’s coming.”
The men’s team, on the other hand, is still in the midst of a championship run with one race remaining. This week of practice won’t be too strenuous, Helmer said.
“We look at (the Regional) as being our last really hard workout,” he said. “Yes, it was a race, but we controlled it early, and we built all the way through with the mid-race progression runs like a workout. We have to make sure we don’t get too relaxed or too stale, and we should be just fine.”