Cross country prepares for the MVC championship

Originally published October 22, 2010

The times continued to fall for the Braves on the cross-country course as the teams started to take on tougher competition.

“It was definitely the toughest meet we’ve had,” coach Marc Burns said. “I think if you look at the times, they were fast and the course was hard because we haven’t had rain in so long.”

The women’s team finished in seventh place overall and the men finished in 15th as the hosts of the seventh annual Bradley Classic at Newman Golf Course.

In Bradley’s last meet before the Missouri Valley Conference Championships, senior Mary Goldkamp ran the best 6K time of her career, finishing the course in 21:42 and placing 10th overall.

“I fully expect [Mary] to get right up in the front and bang heads [in the MVC Championships],” Burns said. “I expect Mary to be in the top-three.  That would be a great position to help our team.”

Freshmen Cassie Lohmeier and Whitney Schumacher were the next two Braves to cross the finish line and tallied 23rd and 31st place, respectively. 

Lohmeier ran a 22:11 in her first 6K and Schumacher was 13 seconds off Lohmeier’s pace.

Senior Lauren Fog and sophomore Emily Gustafson capped the scoring places for the Braves with 58th and 68th places.

On the men’s side, the race for first place looked like it was no contest heading into the final 50 meters, but that quickly changed as DePaul’s Matthew Graham chased down Iowa’s Jeff Thode and clipped him by four-tenths of a second.

“I just saw a picture of it in Dave Snell’s piece,” Burns said. “What great drama for a cross country meet.  You run for 23, 24 minutes and it comes down to tenths of a second.”

Leading the way for Bradley was once again senior Andrew Weiser.  For the fourth time in as many races, Weiser was the first of the Braves to cross the finish line.

Weiser finished his home course in 25:24 and was in 50th place overall.

“Weiser is doing great, his training is going awesome,” Burns said. “As we rest up a little bit and head toward a peak, hopefully we’ll see him in the top 15 at the MVC meet.”

Two more seniors finished the course in less than 26 minutes. Zach Bowling and Brian Tyne set career lows with 25:34 and 25:56 times that put them in 62nd and 88th place respectively.

Freshman Thomas Harayda was just shy of joining his teammates in the sub-26 minute group and completed the course in 26:04 and 101st place.

Sophomore Jon Richards rounded out the scoring for the Braves with a career-low time of 26:16 and a 116th place finish.

“This is the time of year where people are fit, our guys are doing great” Burns said.  “We took it relatively easy the week of the meet to give them a chance to get their legs back underneath them.  They were ready to run the best race of their lives. Hopefully it’ll carry through in the next few weeks.”

The Braves will begin wrapping up their season with the MVC Championships in two weeks before returning home for NCAA Regionals. Bradley is hosting the Regional meet in the same location as the Bradley Classic, Newman Golf Course.

“[These meets] are the whole season,” Burns said. “Loyola will not define our season. It’s part of the process of us developing. What will define our season will be the MVC Championships.”