Cross Country competes in first varsity meet at Woodbridge Invitational

Ellie Hanssler, Staff Writer 

This last Friday, Cross Country competed in their second meet of the season, the Woodbridge Invitational, resulting in many new personal records for the runners and high rankings for the team.
Historically, this meet is where many runners achieve their fastest time of the season due to the cooler weather and flat, fast course. However, for many this put an added pressure to do better for an already stressful race.
“Norco was a really stressful meet because everyone PR’s, but I’m glad I raced because I had a lot of fun,” junior Shanya Vankilian said.
For the first time ever, both Boys and Girls Varsity competed in separate races, instead of racing by individual grade as was done in years prior. (Typically, the teams’ first Varsity race takes place at the Mason Park League Cluster or the Stanford Invitational, not this early on in the season.) Despite this being a new experience for all the runners, both teams exceeded all expectations with impressive times and places.
Junior Ryan Duffy set a new personal record with a time of 15:45, earning him twenty-sixth place in the race. Raja Batra, another junior, also achieved his best time yet with a time of 16:05, placing fifty-third in his race. Overall, Boys Varsity ranked ninth out of twenty-five other teams, with six out of seven of their runners placing in the top one-hundred.
“It was a team effort, and when I saw Ryan running it motivated me to work harder,” said Batra, who has a close friendship with Duffy.
Sophomore Collette Lowengrub placed second in her race with a time of 17:43, a new PR (Personal Record), also making her the thirteenth fastest female runner in UNI’s history.
“I was pretty nervous for the race since it was against so many fast people, but once I got started I realized that it wasn’t so bad,” Lowengrub said.
Junior Avery Klauke and senior Cecilia Langlois also placed high within their races, running with times of 18:13 (making her now the nineteenth fastest runner) and 18:49 and placing tenth and twenty-sixth, respectively. This was freshman Allissa Kopylova’s (time of 20:55) and sophomore Amberly Martinez’s (time of 21:10) first time competing on a Varsity level, but despite their lack of previous experience, they were able to hold their own.
“Running Varsity for the first time was challenging… but I would love to do it again. I can’t wait for the rest of the season,” Martinez said.
For many runners, this invitational was not just another race, but a chance to prove themselves and qualify for the upcoming Stanford Invitational, in which only the top seven runners from the boys and girls teams are able to compete. Such was the case for senior captain Reese Carlton, who ran with a time of 17:21, making him eligible for the invitational.
“I’m very excited to go to Stanford. I think it’s a big achievement in my running career. I’m excited to see what the team does,” Carlton said.
The rest of the team’s runners, competing in JV, Sophomore, and Freshman races also had several notable performances. The freshman girls placed sixth out of sixteen teams, sophomore girls placed eleventh out of sixteen teams and girls JV placed twelfth out of thirty-three teams. The freshman boys placed sixth out of thirty other teams, sophomore boys placed ninth out of forty-one teams,  junior boys placed twelfth out of twenty-one teams and seniors boys placed fifteenth out of twenty-two teams.
Cross Country’s next meet, the Boy’s G.O.W., will take place Thursday, October 6th at Mason Park.