Three in a row. That’s how many meets both the IU men’s and women’s cross-country teams have won to begin their undefeated seasons.
After two impressive sweeps at home, the Hoosiers traveled to Kansas for the Rim Rock Farm Classic and did the same thing.
The meet was IU’s first big test of the season, and it stepped up. Senior Jason Crist led the men’s side and finished third overall. Senior Matt Schwartzer and standout freshman Ben Veatch followed Crist. All five IU runners placed in the top 10, and IU finished with 23 points.
This was Veatch’s second time placing in the top five as an official IU runner, and IU Coach Ron Helmer only had high praise for his freshman standout.
“Ben just wants to help the team,” Helmer said. “I have such a great appreciation for him. He gets his role on the team, and he’s so unselfish. He still has a lot of growth, and he’s just doing what needs to be done to get better.”
IU started out of the gates in the middle of the pack. It struggled at first, but picked up the pace as the race went along and ended up in the lead. The top three took off, and Helmer said no one could match them.
Helmer said the key to the meet was the depth that the men had throughout the race. The top runners lead the way and the rest of the team wasn’t too far behind, so it was overall a good race, Helmer said.
In the women’s race, IU managed to finish with 36 points and upset No. 26 Kansas. The Hoosiers were led by sophomore Katherine Receveur, who placed second overall, once again. She has now finished second in the last two meets, and Helmer said they had a different tactic involving Receveur in Kansas.
“We kept Katherine at the front, and she almost took the whole thing, so our tactics really paid off this weekend keeping her up front the whole time,” Helmer said.
Receveur said the team felt great going into the race and they believed they could win it from the start.
“It meant a lot to win because Kansas has been a national qualifier before,” Receveur said. “It wasn’t planned, but we knew it was possible to win.”
Receveur said she had a feeling IU won the meet soon after she crossed the finish line.
“I crossed the line, and the announcer started saying who finished behind me, and a lot of IU names were being said,” she said. “That’s when I knew we won. We were so pumped, and my first reaction was to greet my teammates, and we all told each other how proud we were.”
Eight of the first nine IU runners to finish were either freshmen or sophomores, and Helmer said he was very proud of the young runners’ performances.
“They’re doing whatever it takes to win, and they push the older girls to be better,” he said. “They needed to believe how good we think they can be. It was a really good confidence boost for us, and they executed very well.”
Helmer said the biggest thing he was proud of this weekend was both teams’ execution. He said they stepped up when they needed to and stayed calm the whole time.
“You always want to see growth, and you always want to see improvement,” Helmer said.