At Saturday’s Oshkosh Invite, a race comprising nine of the top-25 teams in the country, the men’s cross country finished with 233 points, 184 points behind winners North Central.
Running largely as a pack, the team was led by second-year Bill Whitmore, who ran a time of 25:17, finishing 30th out of 575 runners. The teams scorers followed closely, with all of the top five coming in within 27 seconds of each other.
Fourth-year Arthur Baptist ended the race in 36th place, finishing the eight kilometers with a time of 25:23—a minute behind the winner, Michael Spain, of North Central.
“I think we have a lot we can improve upon. We had a couple of guys normally in our top five that didn’t run as well as they could have,” said Baptist. “Even still I think we had a pretty good day, and beat some of the teams that we wanted to beat.”
The team will fly to New York for the next race at the UAA Championships on Saturday, October 30 at NYU where they will look to improve upon their average time of 25:33.
The Maroons will run at Van Cortland Park, known for its treacherous and winding hills, including the vaunted Graveyard Hill, where the Maroons hope to resurrect a final victory.
“We’ll see NYU and Wash U in two weeks,” said Baptist. “They are the class of the UAAs right now, but after Saturday I think we showed that we can compete. Our fifth man and NYU’s are seconds apart. Getting close to them and competing with them should set us up to compete at nationals.”
NYU came in third, clocking an average time of 25:11. Washington finished fourth with an average time of 25:15.
“I think we’re close,” Baptist added. “We would have liked to have a couple better days so far. I think we have the pieces though. It’s just about doing it at regionals.”