On Monday, IU cross-country Coach Ron Helmer said he expected both the men and women to be top-10 teams at the conclusion of the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Friday afternoon.
The women accomplished that goal by finishing in seventh, but the men finished in 14th.
“I think they should feel really confident,” IU Coach Ron Helmer said. “Competition done in the right way is going to continue to help us grow and get us to where we need to be.”
The women’s team came into Wisconsin as the No. 19 team in the country and was projected to finish 11th overall. At the conclusion of the women’s championship 6K, the Hoosiers scored 208 points to take seventh place. They were just 16 points behind No. 7 Wisconsin.
Their top-10 placement occurred largely due to the team’s overall depth. The women’s five scorers all placed 63rd or better in a race of 227 competitors. Senior Maggie Allen led the team with an 18th-place finish in the time of 20:07.9.
“We went into it confident, knowing we were supposed to be there,” Allen said. “It’s very comforting knowing if you aren’t on it or you don’t have a good day that someone else can help you out and really push you.”
The next four scorers for the women’s team finished within 46.2 seconds of their teammate. Senior Katherine Receveur was the next IU runner to cross the finish line with the time of 20:14.4 to place 24th.
Freshman Sarah Schmitt took 48th place as Bailey Hartenstein followed close behind her to take 55th. Junior Lexa Barrott closed the scoring field for the Hoosiers as she took 63rd place with the time of 20:53.7.
Senior Haley Harris and junior Kelsey Harris rounded out the women’s championship race for the Hoosiers.
The women’s B 6K featured three runners wearing cream and crimson. Freshman Claire Hamilton was the first to cross the finish line, coming in 18th place with a time of 21:36.6. Sophomore Hannah Stoffel finished in 37th. The last IU runner was freshman Josey Korte, who took 74th with the time of 22:42.3.
The men’s team was led by senior Kyle Mau, who took 24th place with the time of 23:45.9. The depth behind Mau was scattered, as the second Hoosier to cross the line was freshman Dustin Horter in 73rd place.
“It was really encouraging at the start of the race," Mau said. "We had a pack of a few of us that positioned well early, so we were able to settle in and relax. It’s easy to get lost in the field, making sure we get out as a strong pack would set us up really well in the race and that’s just something we need to work on in practice. I think today was a step in the right direction for us.”
The next IU runner to cross the finish line was senior Bryce Millar in 81st place. Freshman Arjun Jha crossed the finish line in 102nd place. Senior Kyle Burks rounded out the five men’s scorers by taking 134th place with the time of 24:42.7.
Freshman Reese Jordan and sophomore Hunter Moore closed the field for the Hoosiers.
“Two freshmen had solid races, I think they both are better than that,” Helmer said. “It’s just a different transition for freshmen when you’re stepping up from 5K to 8K, so I think Dustin and Arjun are going to continue to improve. They’ll do a better job of managing that distance.”
Five Hoosiers participated in the men’s B 8K race Friday. Senior Joe Murphy was the first to cross the finish line. He secured a second place finish with a time of 24:45.6.
On Oct. 12, IU will travel to Peoria, Illinois, to compete in the Bradley Pink Classic, one day before racing in Pre Nationals back in Madison, Wisconsin.
“It’s early, the national meet is still seven weeks away,” Helmer said. “There will be a lot of changes over the course of the next four weeks before the conference meet. We just have to be that team that holds steady and keeps moving forward.”
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