“A few days before, the weather forecast was basically calling for Armageddon,” Nat Fox ’16, a member of the Lords cross-country team, said of the days leading up to the All-Ohio Championship in Cedarville, Ohio on Oct. 3. The weather report included a high chance of thunderstorms and hail, and the Lords and Ladies were steeling themselves for a day of miserable conditions.
However, the morning of the race, conditions turned out to be unexpectedly picturesque. Although one might expect the onset of good weather to be a welcome change, the amount of mental energy the team had invested in preparing for storms made this transition difficult.
“Preparation for the race is a multi-day process,” Fox said. “When [bad weather] doesn’t happen, you’ve allocated all of this time and energy to fighting conditions.”
Co-Captain Abby Arace ’16 agreed that the abrupt change in running conditions was a bit jarring. “I, personally, just like knowing what the conditions are going to be,” she said. “[The weather] looked really horrible when we were starting, and then, all of a sudden, it was just really hot in the middle of the race. It was really strange.”
Head Coach Duane Gomez cited the sheer size of the meet as another contributing factor to the team’s somewhat sluggish performance.
“Both teams did not get out fast enough,” he said. “At the first mile, they were kind of in the back of the pack, and once you’re there, you’re stuck.”
Gomez explained further that, at the All-Ohio meet, varsity runners generally run separately from the general group of runners. However, in anticipation of poor weather, both of these groups ran on the same course, which led to an abnormally large group of runners.
In future practices, Gomez says he will train his teams to be more aggressive in the opening moments of big meets.
“When the gun goes off, you’ve got to go, especially in these giant races when you get in big packs,” Gomez said.
Susannah Davies ’18, who has been consistent as the team’s number two runner, finished in 42nd as the lead Kenyon runner for the first time this season, with a time of 24:06.58. Molly Hunt ’18, another first-year standout, was 60th, crossing the line at 24:35.09.
“It was nice being there at the finish, and being able to see everyone on my team come in and … cheer people on,” Davies said.
Fox, on the other hand, was running in more familiar territory as the lead runner for the men’s team. He has been Kenyon’s top runner before, including at his second-ever collegiate meet.
“I had a solid race,” Fox said. “I wasn’t unhappy with it.”
Gomez and runners alike are optimistic about the team’s prospects at the Inter-Regional Rumble, which will be on Oct. 18 in Oberlin, Ohio.
“[Oberlin has] a really flat course, so people tend to run really well there,” Arace said.
Davies expects the Oberlin meet to be full of surprises, but more of the quirky than the unsettling sort. “It’s a pretty funky meet,” she said. “Apparently they play drums, and instead of having a gun go off, they have a cannon.”