By Owen Smith
Denison’s women’s and men’s cross-country teams finished fifth and sixth, respectively, this weekend at the NCAC championship in Gambier, Ohio.
Kenyon’s 8k course worked well for Jake Dennie ‘17, who finished in 22nd place out of 107 runners with a time of 26:28.2. Despite having to battle with plantar fascitiis since the summer, Dennie led the DU men this weekend.
“I personally didn’t run more than the warmup that day because my injury flared up, so the course was relatively new,” Dennie said. “The course was actually a ton of fun, with lots of twists and turns and terrain.”
Drake Lohnes ’17 finished 16 seconds after Dennie, garnering him 27th place. Sam Beech ’16 finished with a time of 27:18.9, which was good enough for 39th place. Niall Clancey ’19 logged a 40th place finish with a time of 27:19 and Zach Cove ‘17 followed closely behind, finishing in 42nd with a time of 27:29.0.
Injuries became a theme for the season this fall with the top four men all dealing with ailments. In a sport where a healthy lower body is critical to success, the team faced a lot of adversity, which Dennie claimed hindered his season as well as the team’s as a whole.
“I actually finished fifth last year and could have been around that range this year had I been healthy,” Dennie said. “For the team to break into the top 3-5 in the conference, what we need is more focus on the little things that will keep us healthy: consistently stretching, building a full base in the summer, doing drills and strength training and getting proper recovery, we can take it to the next level and be a championship contender.”
Emily Lamm ’16 led the DU women in the 6k version of the Kenyon course with a time of 22:59.7, which was good enough for fourth place. Lamm found the course difficult to maneuver, but attributed her mindset and pacing to her top 5 finish.
“I empty external thoughts and center myself in the moment,” said Lamm. “There were wood chips and gravel, and sharp turns would break up my stride. The race forced me to really focus and progress through one section at a time.”
Anna Fash ’19 finished in 15th place with a time of 23:35.1. Kate Benson ’16 logged a time of 23:45.8 and Emily Grabauskas followed right behind her, garnering both of them top 20 finishes. Fash, a freshman, noted that the intensity of the training in college compared to high school greatly helped her speed.
“I’ve progressed the volume and intensity for the speed workouts which has caused to me to work much harder than I needed to in high school,” Fash said. “I was very pleased with my finish.”
While the season ended for some, a select few will continue on to the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 14.