One month into their competitive season, the Albion College men and women’s cross-country team is just getting warmed up.
The teams have each run in four invitational events, including the MIAA Jamboree where the Lady Brits finished sixth out of eight teams and the men came in fourth. More recently, Albion’s cross runners competed in the Adrian Invitational with the women finishing third out of four teams in the 6K event, and the men coming in fourth overall.
“We were frustrated about our performance at the Jamboree,” said Ben Alger, Grass Lake junior, “but we all share the common goal of performing much better at the league championship (in November) and we are working hard to achieve it.”
Though rain dampened the course at the Adrian Invitational, it did not affect the Britons’ ability to stay focused. Deion Pruitt, Ann Arbor first-year, won the men’s 5K race with a time of 16:44.62. He was followed by Matt Melvin, Bangor first-year, who finished with a time of 17:06.89.
“One of the highlights of my season so far has been running my 5K split faster than my best time in high school,” Pruitt said. “I plan to keep working hard and try to stay healthy.”
One minute separated Albion’s top five runners in the men’s 8K event. Alger finished fourth with a time of 27:59.45, followed by Andrew Fuentes, Grand Junction sophomore, who took seventh place; Taylor Polzin, Sturgis sophomore, with a time of 28:51; Nick Shaheen, Flint senior, with a 28:54.29; and Aaron Croad, Novi sophomore finishing with a time of 28:58.81.
“I really want to close the gap between me and the top guys on our team this season,” Fuentes said.
The women’s team also ran well despite the loss of their captain, Emily McLaughlin, Grosse Pointe junior, to an ankle injury in the week prior to the meet. Posting a ninth place finish in the 3K event was Ashley Miracle, Redford first-year, with a time of 12:22.02. In the women’s 6K, Albion’s top two female runners, Erika Nichols, Greenville senior, and Amanda Weaver, Marshall first-year, posted third and fourth places finishes respectively.
“The biggest highlight of my season so far was this past weekend at Adrian College,” Miracle said. “The top ten finishers won t-shirts and it had been one of my goals all season to get one. I finally did.”
With a little less than half of the season passed, the Britons are already focusing on what is to come.
“The toughest opponent we have faced so far is Calvin College,” Alger said. “While we don’t really anticipate beating them in the conference, we are still aiming to be competitive with them. We still face the challenge of closing the gaps between our top five male runners, and if we can do that, then we can expect to be a very strong and competitive team.”
With two months separating the team from the MIAA championship, even the younger members of the team have faith that the season will end on a strong note.
“We need to keep focused on our training and continue to work hard for the rest of the season,” Melvin said. “We are very close to being a top three team in the conference and with our training and work ethic we should easily come out as the number two or three team in the conference.”
The men and women’s cross country teams run this Saturday, Oct. 10, in the Triton Invitational.