The Webster University men’s record in the 8K race was broken — twice — on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational in Rock Island, Ill.
Senior Ethan Jeffries of the men’s cross-country team surpassed the old mark that senior Daniel Henkey set last season by eight seconds, finishing the race in 27 minutes, 13 seconds. Sophomore Jason Hickson finished right behind Jeffries, also beating the old mark with a time of 27:19.
Jeffries’ race was good for 78th out of 228 runners. Hickson’s time placed him 84th in the race. Henkey finished at 27:23, just two seconds off his previous record pace, and freshman Charles Whitehead finished at 28:32.
Overall, the Webster men placed 19th — one spot behind St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competitor Westminster College. In total, 34 schools competed on the men’s side.
“For the men, it was the best finish we’ve ever had,” coach Kelly Parlsey said. “If you have our top five guys, you take their total time, that’s the fastest time a Webster team has ever run, from one to five.”
Parsley said Webster has historically run well at Brissman-Lundeen, so he knew the times were going to be fast. He said they went into the race with tired legs because they are looking forward to upcoming conference meets.
“I think we could have the highest finish we have ever had as a men’s team in the conference,” Parsley said.
The women’s cross-country team finished 23rd out of 32 schools. For the women, junior Heather Heisse ran her personal best in the 6K race with a mark of 23:48. Heisse’s time was good for 45th out of 211 women runners.
Parsley said Heisse’s performance shows the shape she is in this season.
“Her races have been good but haven’t shown where she really is, and finally this weekend she had a breakthrough,” Parsley said. “To be that close to breaking a record as early in the season — in her first 6K of the season — is a fantastic performance.”
Senior Jane McKibben crossed the finish line with a time of 25:19, placing her 111th overall. Junior Eroica Stackhouse, the third Gorlok finisher, placed 148th overall with a time of 26:25.
Freshman Jessica Tautphaeus came in fourth for the Gorlok women, placing 178th overall with a time of 27:47. Sophomore Priyanka Rauniyar finished her third Webster race with a time of 32:32.
With conference meets coming up at the end of October and the beginning of November, Parsley’s goal is to get everyone to compete in every race and continue improving their times.
“I don’t want to get to the end of the season and say everyone’s personal best was in September — then I’m not doing my job, and they’re not running fast enough,” Parsley said.
The teams will be heading to Chicago to compete in the Sean Earl Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 11:15 a.m.