The MC cross country teams competed at the GSC championship meet on Saturday, Oct. 31. The women’s team picked up the program’s highest GSC finish with a second place finish. The men’s team finished fourth.
Both teams set an individual school record; Jazmin Hernandez set the school mark in the women’s 5K with a time of 18:00.61, finishing fifth; and Evan Del Rio set the school record in the men’s 8K with a time of 21:31.31, coming in sixth. Both Hernandez and Del Rio broke their own school record marks.
On the women’s side: Madeline Campbell finished 10th, Kathy Hammond finished 11th, Emma Langley finished 13th, McKenzie Hargrove finished 14th, Emily Berry finished 35th, Ava Dickerson finished 40th, and Caroline Perry finished 54th.
On the men’s side, Gabe Poulin finished 25th, Cole Benoit finished 33rd, Alec Beers finished 36th, Adam Gomez finished 40th, Chris Webber finished 44th, Jake Russell finished 46th, Christian Leach finished 49th, Peyton Brassfield finished 57th, and Todd McInnis finished 69th.
On the GSC meet and what it means as a culmination of the truncated 2020 season, Madeline Campbell said, “I think that we executed our plans extremely well, and our goal was to finish as high as we could, and I think we achieved that. We have come a long way from where we were my freshman year…and this season, as small and as weird as it was, will prepare us well for the season to come next year.”
On the men’s side, Evan Del Rio believes his men’s team did well, “Some of our guys had a few little injuries and things like that, but we went with who we had, and I think we all went out there and we gave it our best, and it ended up being a very tactical race. The girls did very, very well. We ended up with our top five girls in the top 15. The girls are killing it.”
For their efforts at the GSC meet, Del Rio was named to his second straight All-GSC First Team (third straight All-GSC team overall), and on the women’s side, Hernandez and Campbell both also made All-GSC First Team. This marked Campbell’s fourth selection to an All-GSC team. Then, also on the women’s side, Hammond, Langley, and Hargrove all made All-GSC Second Team.
Hernandez believes that the women’s team’s freshmen have played a crucial role in helping the team take the next step, saying, “They just are really competitive, which is something we really need: girls to push us more and to bring us out of our comfort zone, and that’s what is going to make us better. We have definitely progressed a lot since last year, and next year we’re going to have more freshmen coming in who are going to bring it up to the next level.”
Last season, both teams finished third at the GSC meet. Del Rio believes the team as a whole is capable of getting to the next level by cementing a sense of community and developing a common goal, saying, “We have the best talent that our team has ever had in the program, and we’re bringing in even faster guys next year, so I think just creating the mindset of what we need to be and how we’re going to get there would be the first thing for the team…I need to help the guys who are coming up, who are going to be going to nationals next year, and give them what they need to know about going into races.”
The GSC championships wrap up a unique season that was heavily affected by COVID-19. The teams had fewer meets (only 4) in their regular season than usual and had to follow all of the COVID-19 protocols. They were one of only two sports competing at MC this fall, and the athletes are getting the opportunity to receive an extra year of eligibility through the NCAA due to COVID-19.