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Lords, Ladies XC keep strong pace at Michigan Invite

Lords, Ladies XC keep strong pace at Michigan Invite

By Brian Hess

This past weekend, the Lords and Ladies continued their string of dominant performances in cross-country meets at the Pre-Regional Knight Invite in Grand Rapids, Mich.

In the women’s meet, 33 teams competed and the Ladies finished fourth overall, with Natalie Plick ’16 and Co-Captain Jenna Willett ’14 finishing in the top 10. Looking to win her fourth-straight meet, Plick ended up taking second, while Willett finished 10th, and both shattered their personal best times. Plick and Willett shared the spotlight with Co-Captain Kerry Strader ’14 and Lizzie Halper ’15, who finished at 44th and 48th, respectively.

“Last fall, we had a fantastic season, and so we started this year with a confidence that we didn’t have before,” Strader said. “Now we know that we have the potential to be one of the top teams in the country, if we keep working hard.”

The Ladies haven’t finished lower than fourth this season, and expect to improve as the season wears on. “We anticipate this success to continue because [Head] Coach [Duane] Gomez’s training is geared towards a late-season peak,” Strader said. “In championship meets, we often beat teams that we lost to earlier in the season.”

On the men’s side, the Lords were one of 33 teams competing and continued their successful run. Sam Lagasse ’16 paced the Lords for the third straight meet, finishing at 44th, while Willy Friedlander ’14 and Nat Fox ’16 tied for 49th place. The three top-50 finishes pushed the Lords to an eighth-place finish as a team, and like the Ladies, the Lords’ top three finishers ran their fastest times of the season. Co-Captain Bryce Raz ’14 said he has noticed the hard work and determination of the Lords paying off immensely. “It’s definitely a blast to see how well some of our top guys are running this year,” Raz said. “My teammates and I always want to give our all for the rest of the team. And when you have some great runners throwing down great times, it’s definitely a motivator.”

As the ninth-ranked cross-country program in the region, the Lords and Ladies look to build upon their hot streak with regionals looming.

“We’re happy with where we are at being ranked ninth in the region,” Raz said. “But there’s a lot more we have to do this season. I’m not concerned that the success will end, but we still have a ways to go before we will be happy.”

The Lords and Ladies are on a short break until Oct. 4, when they will compete in the All-Ohio Championship in Cedarville, Ohio.

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