November 24, 2020

Weather, lack of warm-up time hamper cross-country

The Webster University men’s and women’s cross country teams were met yet again with harsh weather as they ran in the Walt Crawford Open on Friday, Sept. 7 in Charleston, Ill.

“I thought everyone performed well considering the circumstances,” men’s and women’s cross-country coach Kelly Parsley said. “It was dark with a lot of lightening. It was scary; it was pretty intense.”

Despite no warm-up time for the men’s team, senior Ethan Jeffries posted the fastest time for a second consecutive week. His time of 27:45 for the meet was also good enough for the sixth best time in school history. Jason Hickson came in second for the men with a time of 27:58.

[pullquote] “I thought everyone performed well considering the circumstances. It was dark with a lot of lightening. It was scary; it was pretty intense.” Kelly Parsley, cross-country coach[/pullquote]

The women’s team warmed up but had to wait the storm out for an hour. Once they were able to compete, junior Heather Heisse ran the fastest time for Webster with a time of 20:29. For a 5K race, Heisse’s time ranked as the fifth fastest time in Webster women’s cross-country history. Junior Julie Greenough finished second for Webster women at 21:19.

Senior Jane McKibben, who finished fourth for Webster, said it was hard to stay mentally focused with everything going on.

“I wasn’t mentally prepared as well as I should’ve been,” McKibben said. “It was hard for the girls to go into that race because we had already warmed up and were ready, and then they saw lightening and made us seek shelter as a safety precaution.”

McKibben said when it was finally safe, they ended up combining the men’s and women’s races. But because neither team had a proper warm-up, McKibben said they were thrown off course.

“We’re used to doing our warm-up right before the race and going right into the race,” McKibben said. “That alone took a toll on the team, and we weren’t really in racing condition like we would have hoped to be.”

Next for the Gorloks is the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational at Rock Island Ill., on Friday, Sept. 21. Parsley said he plans on using the next two weeks to push the team and increase their mileage.

“We’re going to train hard this week,” said Parsley. “Historically, Webster has run really hard at Rock Island. Our school record is held there on the men’s side, so we’re expecting some records to be broken. We’re going to continue working hard and race the best that we can.”

McKibben mirrored the sentiment.

“He’s definitely making us put in the miles and we’re going to be better endurance-wise,” McKibben said. “He definitely means business, and that’s really good to have a coach like that because being pushed at practice is only going to make us want to go harder on race day.”

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