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Cross Country wins dual at Donovan Park against Illinois State

Junior Rebecca Gosselin (left) and freshman Brooke Nusser (right) run side by side during the Bradley Invitational at Donovan Park. Photo by Chris Kwiecinski.
Junior Rebecca Gosselin (left) and freshman Brooke Nusser (right) run side by side during the Bradley Invitational at Donovan Park. Photo by Chris Kwiecinski.

The Bradley cross country teams competed in Peoria this weekend at the Bradley Invitational Sept. 25 at Donovan Park. Members from both the men’s and women’s cross country teams participated in the dual meet against Illinois State University.

The women’s team performed well against the Redbirds, placing five runners in the top ten overall. Sophomore Natalie Burant placed second at the meet, completing the 5K with a time of 19:46.2. Burant was able to achieve success at the invitational despite the challenging environment.

“Donovan Park is a hilly course and it was warm during the race, so I knew not to focus on my time,” Burant said. “I wanted to focus on how I was feeling and where I was position-wise in the race.”

Satisfied with her performance over the weekend, Burant said she would like to focus on her mental preparation for the next tournament and the many tournaments to come.

“Natalie has come in this season and worked extremely hard. She has gotten a little better each week,” men’s and women’s head coach Darren Gauson said. “For her to lead the team to victory and continue the unbeaten streak this season was very pleasing.”

Not far behind Burant was freshman Sara Piller, who took third place in the individual titles with a time of 19:48.0, and sophomore Hannah Witczak, who followed in fourth place with a time of 19:54.3.
Gauson was pleased with the team’s overall performance as they followed through on their goals and strategies for the meet.

“The plan was to hold back to begin with and push more towards the end,” Gauson said. “The team did a great job of following those instructions and we were able to compete very well.”

For the men’s team, freshman Will Anderson took 13th overall individually and completed his 8K with a time of 27:11.7. Senior Cole Dill finished in 15th place with a time of 27:43.2.

The Bradley Invitational marked the second time the cross country team has competed in Peoria this season. The team will return home for another meet Oct. 16 when they host the Bradley Classic at Newman Golf Course. Before that, the Braves cross country team will compete today at the Notre Dame Invitational.