There were bittersweet results for the men’s and women’s cross country teams this weekend at Pre-Nationals.
The women’s team finished 11th out of 37 teams, and the men’s team finished 22nd out of 35 teams.
Sarah Foster and Katie Williams finished in the top 50 and led the way for the Buckeyes, who finished ahead of No. 12 Baylor and No. 27 Northern Arizona.
“I was really focused on working with my teammates to run as a pack,” Williams said. She had “the race of her life” coach Chris Neal said.
The women also finished just behind No. 17 Arizona State and No. 30 Notre Dame.
“We really ran pretty average for ourselves,” Neal said.
Only Taylor Williams and Donald Roys placed in the top 100 on the men’s side.
Coach Robert Gary attributed part of the team’s poor finish to a spreading flu bug.
“We have some players with complaints of the start of the flu,” Gary said. “We feel we could have done better. … The rest of the Big Ten ran lousy this week too.”
Both teams believe this race has its advantages, regardless of how they placed.
“Teams come to Pre-Nationals to get acclimated with the course,” Taylor Williams said. “I believe this is my sixth time running it.”
“It’s great to get on the course for Nationals. We’ve ran it three times this weekend,” Neal said.
The next big test for both teams will be the Big Ten Championships, the gateway to the national meet.
“Everyone is really confident that we can go into the Big Ten and finish in the top three,” Neal said.
Katie Williams hopes the women’s team can carry over the confidence gained from the meet.
“I think we should go into this meet with the confidence that we can compete and finish well,” she said.
The men’s team is not so confident after its rough weekend. With health questions and confidence issues, the outlook is dim at this point.
“[Our result] depends on how guys respond,” Gary said. “I’m hoping everyone stays healthy.”