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Good times ahead for the cross country team

Originally published in the September 24, 2010 issue

Although Bradley’s cross country team competed in Normal at Illinois State’s home course, there was nothing normal about its times.

The Braves competed in the Illinois Intercollegiates last weekend, where four Braves on each of the men and women’s teams ran their fastest times ever in a Bradley uniform.

“The course is a pretty easy cross country course,” coach Marc Burns said. “On a golf course the footing’s really good and it’s relatively flat, so it lends itself to faster times compared to other cross country courses.”

The women took to the course first in the 5K and came away with a fifth place finish as a team.  

Senior Mary Goldkamp finished in third place in the university level, just 13 seconds behind the winner.  She raced to a career best 17:48 in her second race under the new coach.

“[Goldkamp] beat the Illinois State girls, which is good,” Burns said. “She should be a top-three kind of candidate in the conference, she was fifth last year.  We are trying to get her ready to have the tools to run with [defending Missouri Valley Conference champion] Tanya Nearo [from Missouri State] who I think is pretty good this year.”

The rest of the scoring came from freshmen in just their second meet at the college level.

Whitney Schumacher came in 12th out of all the Division I runners with a time of 18:35.

The next Bradley runner to cross the finish line was Cassie Lohmeier in 31st overall with a time of 19:08.

“I think Whitney Schumacher and Cassie Lohmeier are two future stars in the Valley,” Burns said, “and hopefully will become regional and national type of athletes.”

The last two scorers for Bradley were freshmen Kayla Austin and Emily Wolbers, who finished in 53rd and 56th places, respectively.

Juniors Sarah Hallstein and Rachel Garrett and sophomore Chelsea Griffin all gave the Braves career bests on the 5K course.

“I don’t think we’re miracle workers,“ Burns said. “I think we’re slowly developing people and putting them in good situations and creating an environment for them to be successful.”

After the women’s 5K, the men competed in an 8K, and the Braves brought home fourth place.

Senior Andrew Wieser led the men’s side with an 11th place finish in the university division and a career best time of 25:39.

Senior Zach Bowling squeaked under 26 minutes by a second to chop a couple seconds off his best 8K time.

Seniors Billy Miller and Brian Tyne finished in third and fifth places on the team respectively.

Freshman Thomas Harayda was the fourth Brave to cross the finish line for the Braves.

The Braves have the next week off before they travel to Loyola University Chicago on Oct. 2 to take part in the Sean Earl Loyola Invitational.

“It’s become pretty common for my teams to race every other week to allow for a good solid training cycle,” Burns said. “When you race every week, you really can’t do much in between.  By going every two weeks, you can get some solid work in.”

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