The Bradley mens and womens cross country teams competed in the Bradley Invitational at Donovan Park last Friday. The Invitational featured Carl Sandburg College, Southern Illinois Edwardsville and Lincoln College. Both Bradley teams had several top-10 finishers.
With weaker competition than typical meets Bradley competes in, head coach Darren Gauson said he was able to give his top runners a weekend off from racing.
We rested our top-10 on the mens side, Gauson said. It was another chance for some of our redshirted and non-varsity athletes to prove themselves.
The mens team was led by senior Mike Bianchina as he crossed the finish line of the eight-kilometer race in 26:29. Bianchina finished as the first eligible collegiate athlete behind two unattached runners from Bradley. Gauson said he was able to run his redshirted runners as unattached, where they do not count towards the teams score.
Bradley also had top-10 finishes from redshirt freshman Jon May and sophomore David Rodriguez.
On the womens side, senior Nicole Alfano led the Braves with a time of 19:43 in the five-kilometer race. Alfano finished in fifth place overall.
The women continued to have a tight pack of runners in the Invitational claiming the next four spots behind Alfano. The Braves following Alfano were senior Jennifer Luskan, freshman Arsinoe Del Real, junior Morgan Lain and sophomore Emma Makowski.
The Braves take the course today at Newman Golf Course for the Bradley Classic. The first race of the Classic begins at 1 p.m. The Bradley varsity teams will compete in the red races at 3:15 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.
The goal for both the mens and womens teams is to win the meet, especially to be ahead of the teams in our conference, Gauson said.
The men will have a greater challenge in accomplishing this as they took a huge loss a couple weeks ago. One of Bradleys top runners, senior Dan Gagne, suffered a foot injury which will keep him out for the rest of the cross country season.
[Gagnes injury] is a big loss when you lose an all-American, Gauson said. Our goal is just to have him back for the indoor and outdoor track season.
The Bradley Classic will feature a lot of competitive teams and will shed light on the Braves development, according to Gauson.
This is a big race for us. We will know a lot more about how ready we are for our more
important races this season, Gauson said.