Cross country team heads to Loyola and keep dropping time

Originally published October 8, 2010

Homecoming came a couple weeks early for cross country coach Marc Burns as he returned to his alma mater and the place where his coaching career started, Loyola University Chicago.

“It was great going back,” Burns said.  “We had a big Loyola track reunion that night.”

At the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, the women scored a seventh place finish behind senior Mary Goldkamp’s third place finish.  She matched her career best time of 17:48, which she set in the Braves last meet at the Illinois Intercollegiates.

“Mary set the tone for us up front,” Burns said. “Our mission for the meet was to put her up there with the Northwestern girls who beat her two weeks before at Illinois State.”

After Goldkamp, four underclassmen rounded out the scoring for the Braves.  Freshmen Cassie Lohmeier and Whitney Schumacher finished 10 seconds within each other in 32nd and 39th places, respectively.

Both of the next two finishers were competing in their first action this season after fighting through injuries.  Sophomore Emily Gustafson and freshman Sarah Higgins capped off the scoring performances with 110th and 128th place finishes.

“We’ve got to close our gap between three and four,” Burns said. “I know Emily, Sarah and [senior] Lauren [Fog] are capable of closing that gap.”

On the 8K course, the men’s team was led once again by senior Andrew Wieser.  His time of 25:38 not only scored him a 19th-place finish but it was also a career low time for him.

“Andrew is a pretty self-motivated guy,” Burns said. “He’s doing a great job of doing the little things and taking good care of himself.”

Seniors Zach Bowling, Brian Tyne and Billy Miller were the next three to cross the finish line.  They finished in 59th, 99th and 102nd places, respectively.  Tyne and Miller both had career best times as well.

Freshman Thomas Harayda finished in 150th place to give the Braves their final scoring place.

The next competition for the cross-country teams comes in two weeks at the Bradley Classic, which is going to be held at the Newman Golf Course in Peoria.

“We have to be the team that’s scraping and clawing and fighting its way around the course to get every foot we can to beat teams,” Burns said.