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BU cross-country teams finish in top-five at Missouri

Both Bradley cross-country teams enjoyed success at Missouri. Photo courtesy Bradley Athletics.

The Bradley men’s and women’s cross-country teams placed third and fourth, respectively, at the Gans Creek Classic against seven regionally-ranked programs at the University of Missouri on Oct. 1. 

In the men’s race, senior Alec Danner finished 10th overall with a time of 24:15.0. The 2020-21 All-MVC pick registered the quickest time by any Bradley runner in six seasons, leading the Braves to a third place finish. 

Junior George Watson finished 15th overall, clocking in at 24:25.3, the 10th-best time in Bradley’s history. 

Senior Matt Aho finished 20th with a time of 24:31.9, junior Drew Wenger was 23rd with a time of 24:35.8, while senior Charlie Parrish placed 31st, closing the top five for the Braves with a time of 24:46.0. 

Head coach Darren Gauson was pleased with his team’s performance, as he acknowledged that it was the most competitive field so far this year. 

“I mean, [placing] third at that caliber meet, beating Missouri, Texas A&M, Kansas State and a few other schools, we were happy,” Gauson said. 

In women’s competition, the team finished fourth and was paced by Canadian sophomore Ashley Maguire, who ran the six-kilometer course in 21:17.06 and placed seventh overall. 

Maguire is satisfied with last week’s result and hopes to keep the momentum going. 

“Last year was really a building year for me, so it’s great to be able to see that all my work really paid off because obviously it was hard coming in as a freshman and having to deal with COVID-19, being away from home and everything,” Maguire said. “This year is nice to be able to prove what I have been working for.” 

Freshman Nicola Jansen made her collegiate debut and finished ninth overall with a time of 21:18.7. 

Junior Sophia McDonnell crossed the line in 14th place with 21:27.4 on the clock, sophomore Julia Nielsen was 33rd with a time of 22:00.7 and sophomore Tiana LoStracco was 45th in 22:19.4. 

Gauson was also proud of the team’s effort and liked what he saw in Jansen’s debut. 

“Big performances from our freshman Nicola Jansen; getting ninth in a meet like that was incredible, [and] Ashley Maguire — easily her best performance in a Bradley singlet,” Gauson said.

One big surprise was the absence of Wilma Nielsen during the meet last weekend. Gauson decided to give her rest after a busy summer season. 

“Her track season went a little bit later, so we held her from this meet, and then she will run next Friday at the Pink Classic,” Gauson said. “With her in, our women are really good too.”

The Braves will return to action on Oct. 15. The men’s team will compete at the Pre-National Invitational in Florida, while the Braves will also host the Bradley Pink Classic at Newman Golf Course.

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