This past weekend, I raced with the Saint Norbert Cross Country Team at the Chris Yanni Invitational at The Oaks Golf Club in Kencheloe, Michigan. Despite the forecast calling for thunderstorms, the rain held off and we raced under cloudy skies and at a beautiful 65 degrees. The men’s team would race their 8k first at this meet, followed by the women’s 5k. The teams competing against us in the men’s race were the host team Lake Superior State University (Lake State), Alma College, and Sault College. The teams in the women’s race were the host team Lake State, Northern Michigan University, Alma College, and Saint Norbert College. The winning team in each race would receive a trophy and the top ten finishers in each race would receive a meet t-shirt.
The men got out to a strong start. Jake Whitmershaus (SR) Riley Boyce (SO), Sam Holt (SR), and I took the lead through the first half-mile. By the end of the first mile, the race began to break up, with Whitmershaus and Boyce breaking away with a runner from Lake State. Boyce would go on to win the race with a 26:53. Whitmershaus would take second with a 27:39 and Jaxon Todd (FR) would take third with an impressive 27:53. Matt Holloway (FR) came in 8th with a 28:44, followed by Ben Behling (SO) with a 28:57, Harrison Grunert (FR) with a 30:02, and Andrew Hebring (FR) with a 30:11. Sam Holt and I are recovering from injuries, and so Coach Augustine told us to run three of the 4.97 miles. I posted a 16:56 and Holt ran a 17:40. Both Sam and I are optimistic that we will be a part of the scoring team (top seven runners from the team) come conference, but we also both need to overcome some mental barriers during races. Coach is confident that we both possess the ability and skill to do so.
In the women’s 5k, Kaitlyn Arnold (SR) from Alma took first with a time of 17:29. Erin Artz (SR) led the Saint Norbert team with her second place finish and a time of 17:48. Lisa Baeten (JR) would finish third with a time of 18:33, followed by Taylor Domro (FR) with a 19:00, Sarah Parbs (JR) with a time of 19:06, Graceanne Tarsa (SO) with a 19:25, Abby Janto (FR) with a 19:25, and Gretchen Price (SO) with a 19:32.
In team scoring, the Saint Norbert Men’s and Women’s teams both took first place with a score of 26 and 25 respectively. In the men’s race, Lake State took second place, Alma took third, and Sault College took fourth. In the women’s race, Northern Michigan University took second, Alma took third, and Lake State took fourth.
The Chris Yanni Invitational is a special event for Lake Superior State University “The Yanni Invitational is named after Chris Yanni, the former LSSU all-region standout from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, who was killed in a cycling accident in 1992. He is among the University’s most-decorated distance runners, and his brother, Steve, was the Lakers’ cross country coach during that era” (lssu.com). It is a special honor and a privilege to participate in a commemorative race such as this. Our team holds a similar event, the Tom Barry Invitational, in memory of Tom Barry, a very talented athlete and coach of the SNC cross country and track program who died of a heart attack while racing when he was thirty-five. Because we have a similar history to Lake State, the race had a special meaning to our team as well. We could better appreciate the effort to commemorate Chris Yanni.
Both teams will be competing next week at the National Catholic Championships at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. The women’s team is looking very strong this season. The men’s team is very young, having brought eight freshmen onto the team, and they will need to work hard to learn the 8k in order to perform well at conference. The results for the men’s team have been encouraging so far and Saint Norbert College will watch their growth with much anticipation.
“Yanni Invitational is Saturday at The Oaks.” The Official Site of Lake Superior State Athletics. 7 September 2016. Web. 10 September 2016