No matter what has happened during the several seasons prior to this one, the men’s and women’s cross country teams have always been able to look forward to the Horizon League Championship meet, and with good reason—both squads almost always win the contest.
This year was no different for the Bulldogs. The men picked up their 13th consecutive Horizon League Championship, while the women collected their 8th team championship in the last nine years.
The men placed seven runners in the top 10 overall in the victory. Senior Kris Gauson edged out freshman teammate Ross Clarke to win the individual championship. Gauson completed the eight kilometer race in 24:20, while Clarke finished with a time of 24:23.
The other Bulldogs in the top 10 were freshman Callum Hawkins (fifth), senior Tom Boardman (sixth), senior Madison Roeder (eighth), senior Justin Roeder (ninth) and junior Matt Proctor (10th).
The men outscored their closest competitor, Loyola, 69-22.
“It was a big step forward for the team,” Clarke said. “Hopefully we can carry the momentum from this into Regionals.”
Although Clarke was unable to win the race, he left the event with some noteworthy honors.
The native of England was named the men’s Newcomer of the Year following the meet.
He was also one of four Bulldogs to be named First-Team All-Horizon League, joining Gauson, Hawkins and Boardman.
The Roeder brothers and Proctor were named Second-Team All-Horizon League.
“I was more impressed that I came in second and ran a personal record for eight kilometers,” Clarke said. “The Newcomer of the Year Award was a nice honor, but I felt relieved running a good time.
“I had an injury that affected my confidence, but I woke up towards the end of the race.”
The women’s team made up more than half of the top 10 runners overall in their race.
Sophomore Kirsty Legg continued her strong season with an individual victory. Her time of 17:17 was two seconds ahead of sophomore teammate Katie Clark, who finished runner-up in the Horizon League Championship meet for the second year in a row.
The other four Bulldogs that placed in the top ten of the women’s race were junior Lauren Haberkorn (fourth), senior Marbeth Shiell (fifth), sophomore Lauren McKillop (sixth) and sophomore Kaitlyn Love (eighth).
“I was very happy that I won the race, and overall the team was very happy,” Legg said. “We were aiming to win, and we were glad we won for the second consecutive year.”
The women also had some runners honored after the races.
Legg, Clark, Haberkorn, Shiell and McKillop were named First-Team All-Horizon Leauge, while Love and senior Rosie Edwards, who finished 14th in the race, were named Second Team.
In addition to the multiple honors that the athletes received, head coach Matt Roe was named the Coach of the Year for both the men and women.
The wins should give both teams some momentum heading into the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Meet.
The meet will be held in Rochester, Mich., on Nov. 13.
The men finished fifth out of 30 teams in the meet last season, while the women placed 10th of 32 teams.
The men placed three runners in the top 16 runners last season, but were still unable to get Butler to the NCAA Championships.