Cross country raced through a hot afternoon, facing heavy opposition at the Paul Short Run hosted by Lehigh University on Saturday, Oct. 5. With Division III schools across the East Coast competing in the same division alongside Wesleyan, the men’s team placed 30th overall out of 46, and the women’s team placed 39th out of 45.
The elements proved to be a huge factor in the outcome of the race. Relentless sun and 82-degree weather made for a rough run.
“We lost time with the heat,” said Reid Hawkins ’17. “The last mile was tough with [the heat] affecting us.”
Paul Brauchle ’17 echoed Hawkins’ sentiments about the detrimental effects that high temperature had on his own running.
“It was way harder to keep your head in the race,” Brauchle said. “It’s easy to mentally check out when it’s so hot.”
In addition to having an effect on individual runs, the heat forced the men’s leading runner, Taylor Titcomb ’16, to exit the race early.
“At that point [for Titcomb], it was better to be safe than sorry,” Hawkins said. “We weren’t prepared for how hot it was going to be, so we played it safe.”
Fighting through the heat, Libby Lazare ’14 led the Cardinal women, finishing with a solid 22:44 time and a 6:06 pace in the six-kilometer race. Hawkins placed first for the Cardinal men with a 26:27 finish time and a 5:20 pace in the eight-kilometer race.
“I kept the same pace as what I ran at the Wesleyan Invitational [two weeks ago against Mitchell College], which I was pretty happy about,” Brauchle said. “We added a mile here in this race to [the length of the course at] the Invitational, so keeping the same pace throughout was good.”
Keith Conway ’16, who placed second for the men’s team, broke a personal record despite the high temperature.
“It hurt a lot after the first mile mark,” Conway said. “But I kept together, closed hard, bit the pillow, and [set a personal record] by [a margin of] 1:10.”
The women’s team scored 909 points with an average time of 24:55. There were 365 female runners and 45 teams. With 372 total male runners and 46 teams, the men’s team scored 812 points with an average time of 27:51.
“We can’t be disappointed about our places or times,” Hawkins said. “The team did well. The results don’t reflect everything [because] not only did our best [men’s] scorer not count, but also other teams don’t develop over time like we do.”
The attitude after the race placed a great focus on the long term.
“I think the heat really got to us [this time],” said Molly Schassberger ’17. “Next meet we really need to keep our focus better as a team and not worry so much about the other runners around us.”
This emphasis will be important in the upcoming meet as the Cardinals will host Amherst and Williams for the Little Three Meet on Saturday, Oct. 19. Though Wesleyan has struggled against these rivals in the past, the Cardinals are concentrating on lessons learned from the Paul Short Run before worrying about a race to come.
“After [the Paul Short Run], everyone is getting even more serious about training,” Brauchle said. “It [was] our first really competitive meet. The team is continuing to grow. We’ve just got to keep on keeping on.”