Cross Country: Young runners shine

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Cross Country: Young runners shine

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The Billiken cross country team is racing right along through their regular season this fall.  The men and women rosters are both dominated by underclassmen; 12 of 20 men are freshmen, and the women carry no seniors.

Head coach Jon Bell commented on the outlook for the fall.  “This should be an exciting season.  We believe this schedule offers the perfect competitive balance for our team,” he said.  “We have meets where our younger, less experienced runners can compete and earn valuable experience.  We also have high-level competitions for our more experienced, veteran student-athletes.”

And his comments couldn’t be more accurate.

The Bills opened up the season on Sept. 5 in Forest Park in the Washington University Gabby Reuveni Early Bird.  Almost all of the returners ran faster than they did the previous year.  Freshmen also had an opportunity to show their skills.  Freshman Elise Marker led the way for the women in the 4K with a fifth-place time of 15:05.  The women’s team finished third of 11 teams, and the men’s team finished fifth of eight.

Both squads returned to Forest Park to compete in the Forest Park Cross Country Festival on Sept. 12.  Freshmen again led the pack.  Freshman Courtney Pfanstiel finished the women’s 5K in 13th place with a time of 19:14, and freshman Sean Conlin finished the men’s 5K in 16th with a time of 16:07.

The cross-country team continued their success in Indiana at the National Catholic Championships and the Notre Dame Invitational.  The upperclassmen took the reins to push the Billikens to success.  Graduate Isabel Leibfried placed fourth in the 5K with a time of 17:34.  Junior Neal Fitzpatrick led the Billikens in their first five-mile run of the season, placing in 20th with a time of 25:41.6.

SLU has their final regular season meet, the Bradley Pink Classic, in Illinois, on Oct. 16.