Men’s cross country struggles at NWC championships

by Korey Hope

The men’s cross country team had a challenging race at the NWC championships last Saturday, hosted by Pacific University, and hopes to be more successful at the upcoming regional meet.

“It was pretty bad to be honest. As a team we didn’t really race that well. And I probably had the worst race of my life individually,” freshman Colton Berry said.

Berry usually finishes near the top for the Whitworth team, but he finished 7th for the team and 42nd overall. The Bucs finished in 4th place behind Willamette, Lewis & Clark and the University of Puget Sound.

The Bucs are ranked 8th going into the regionals race but have had high finishes all season.

“I definitely would say that [this race] wasn’t  a very good indication of what we’re capable of or how we’ve been racing all season,” Berry said.

Team captain, senior Tim Hill, blames the unsuccessful race on the team not sticking to the race strategy.

“We did really poorly this last weekend. We normally have a race strategy,” Hill said.”The race strategy that we normally have is running together as a pack and we didn’t do that at all so it kind of ended up hurting us a lot.”

He still has hope for the regionals race as the Pirates train to head to the NCAA Division III West Regionals, hosted by Willamette on Nov. 10.

“Hopefully we can figure out what we did wrong and improve on that and show the rest of the conference and region that conference was a fluke and we’re going to be a team contending for a top spot,” Hill said.

 According to head coach Toby Schwarz, the Pirates didn’t run to the  highest level of their capability.

“We didn’t get out very fast and that kind of hurt us because we spent the rest of the race trying to get back into the race and that made it tough,” Schwarz said. “One of the strengths of our team this year has been running as a group and we didn’t run as a group, we pretty much ran as a bunch of individuals out there, so that kind of hurt us.”

The Pirates have a little down time before the  next race. Currently ranked 8th, the goal is a top five finish.

“My hope is that it’s going to be a lot better. Hopefully we can show how good of a team we actually are,” Schwarz said. “As long as they stay healthy and train hard in the next couple of weeks and then execute on that day we should be able to do that.”

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