Two Bulldogs recorded Top-10 finishes at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships on Saturday in Normal, Ill., completing Drake’s 2012 campaign.
Junior Brogan Austin paced the Drake men with a third-place finish. Austin completed the 8-kilometer course in 24 minutes, 26 seconds.
Anemia plagued Austin throughout the 2012 campaign. Though the issue complicated Saturday’s MVC Championship, Austin was pleased with his performance.
“Yesterday, I was pretty good about fighting through the pain,” Austin said. “A good effort was my goal for the race, and I think I accomplished that.”
Southern Illinois’ Zach Dahleen edged Austin down the home stretch to take second in a time of 24:25. Indiana State’s John Mascari won with a time of 24:21.
Several Bulldogs posted noteworthy finishes.
Freshman Rob McCann posted his best showing yet with a time of 25:33, good for 25th place.
Sophomore Conor Wells clocked 25:39 to finish 31st. A second later, fifth-year senior Charlie Lapham crossed the finish line to take 32nd place.
The Bulldogs placed fourth as a team with 137 points. Southern Illinois claimed the MVC Championship with 34 points. Indiana State took second with 40 points followed by third-place Wichita State.
In Drake women’s action, fifth-year senior Kirsten Lake posted a career-best MVC Championship showing with a time of 17:47 to take sixth place. Lake’s teammates lauded her Top-10 finish.
“She did a really good job, she’s been working really hard in practice, and she’s just been pushing herself, so she deserves it,” said freshman Celeste Arteaga. “And hard work pays off in her case, so she did a really good job and we’re all proud of her.”
Wichita State’s Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton finished the 5-kilometer course in 16:59 to claim the MVC Championship.
Three freshmen contributed to Drake’s score. Freshman Taylor Scholl clocked 18:21 to take 26th place. An “excited” Arteaga took finished 46th in a time of 19:11.
“I was really excited. I was really happy with my performance,” Arteaga said. “I was shooting for getting a PR (personal record), giving my best, leaving it all out on the course, and I feel like I did pretty good for my first conference.”
The Bulldogs placed seventh as a team with 170 points. Illinois State won the MVC Championship with 42 points.
With the 2012 campaign complete, gaining experience tops the young Bulldogs’ agenda.
“I think it shows that we’re going to get better and better as the years go by,” Arteaga said. “Once we’re all older and more experienced, I think we’re going to be a really good team. We’re definitely going to a good job the next couple of years, especially if we all stick together and push each other at practice and work hard.”