The University of Chicago men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the Benedictine Invitational this past Friday, with both teams taking first place and defending their respective national rankings (women No. 2, men No. 11). The UChicago women won with 21 points, placing them 39 ahead of second-place North Central. The Maroon women took seven of the top 11 finishes in the race, led by third-year Sophie Elgamal with a 22:18.2. Elgamal not only helped defend her team’s ranking, but also defended the All-American honors she earned last year.
Just behind Elgamal was fourth-year Claire Brockway, who captured second place with a time of 22:24.3. First-year Caitlin Jorgensen rounded out the top five with her season-best 23:02.8 finish. Sophia Smith (sixth, 23:08.8), Emma Dyer (eighth, 23:30.6), Leela Sarukkai (10th, 23:35.0), and Katarina Birimac (11th, 23:42.2) rounded out the Maroon Women who scored points.
On the men’s side, the Maroons scored 22 points, again beating out North Central (39 points). Fourth-year captain Tim Koenning led the way with a third-place finish in the 8K, crossing the line at 26:29.5. The men took two more places in the top five, as second-year Valentine Figueira (26:35.6) and third-year Will Norton (26:40.6) followed closely behind. Rounding out the scorers for the men were fourth-year Joe Previdi (seventh, 26:53.4), and a trio of first-years Luke Collins (eighth, 27:05.9), Olaf Oddsson Cricco (17th, 27:45.7), and Adam Sachs (27th, 28:02.8).
Koenning spoke of his team’s success so far this season, and the big upcoming meets: “As championship season nears, I’m really pleased with where our team is at. We took a big step forward last year, and I think that has given us some confidence this year that has allowed for us to match up well against some of the other top teams in the country. Our greatest strength right now is our depth, and that will become even more important as the competition gets tougher in the coming weeks. With the depth of this team, we’ve seen meaningful contributions come from guys of all years, especially our first-years. I’m confident that with this group, we’ll be able to put together some pretty special races in the next few weeks.”
The Maroons will next compete in the UW–Oshkosh Invitational on Saturday October 19 at 10:30 a.m. This meet will be both teams’ last tune-up race before a slew of meets with championship implications on the line. Starting November 2, the Maroons will compete in the UAA Championship, NCAA Midwest Regional, and a very promising NCAA Division III National Championship meet in Louisville on November 23.