Men’s cross country competes as a unit

by Whitney Carter

The men’s cross country team finished in third place at this week’s Runner’s Soul/Erik Anderson Invite in Spokane.

“It was more of a workout than a race,” senior captain Tim Hill said.

This was the Bucs’ second of three consecutive weekends of races, on one of the Pirates more difficult courses of the season.

“We didn’t run this as a race,” coach Toby Schwarz said.

Schwarz said that Pirates viewed this race as more of a practice and a chance to recover.

“It is not a PR course at all and so what [Schwarz] had us do is run in a pack all together and just work on running as a team,” freshman Chris MacMurray said. “I’d find it very unlikely if that were to happen again this year, I could see us doing a lot of practices like that, but not any more meets.”

Running the race as a team meant there was less variance between the fastest and slowest times from Pirate runners.

First to cross the finish line was freshman Connor Soudani, but all 10 Pirate men finished within 3 seconds of each other with times from 28:30.78 to 28:32.75.

In a sport where personal times hold merit apart from team scores, the strategy gave the Bucs a chance to work together.

“I liked helping my teammates out, because for a few of them, it was a struggle to stay at that pace and it was just cool to actually help them meet their mark and not drop out.” MacMurray said. “It was just cool to be able to encourage my teammates during an actual race.”

With the event taking place in Spokane Valley, Whitworth students were able to come out to support their peers at the event.

“That was actually kind of fun, there were a lot of people there supporting and cheering us on,” MacMurray said.  “It was like happy cheering. It was really encouraging to have all of them supporting us.”

This was the team’s only meet in Spokane.

Next week the Bucs will compete at the Willamette Invite at Busch Pasture Park in Salem, Ore.

“I’ve been told that’s a really fast course,” Macmurray said. “It’s also the Willamette invite and Willamette is our rival for cross-country so that’s the first time we’re going to see them all season. So we’re going to go into it pretty amped and wanting to beat them and show them what’s up so it’s definitely going to be a good showdown.”

The Pirates have two more races before conference championships.

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