BY BAILEE COFER
This Saturday the Drake University Men’s and Women’s Cross Country traveled to the University of Northern Iowa to race in the Missouri Valley Conference meet. The women raced a 5k and the men raced an 8k, with the teams taking 9th and 7th place, respectively.
The women were disappointed with their 9th place finish. They felt they had the talent to place better but just couldn’t pull it off on race day.
The women’s team is very young and will return all of their scorers next year, so they will take this season as a learning opportunity for future success.
Under the leadership of coaches Dan Hostager and Jacob Kaemmer, this young team looks forward to finishing the season strong and then gearing up for a successful track season with some experience under their belts.
On the men’s side, senior Reed Fischer ran away with the win. He ran the 8k race in a course-record time of 24:31.8 to finish as the MVC champion. Fischer’s first-place finish rendered him a spot on the All-Conference First Team.
Fischer was also an Elite 18 Award Winner, which is an award presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA competing at the finals site at each of the MVC’s 18 team championships.
The women’s team competed first, so they were able to watch the entire men’s race unfold. When Fischer ran by the crowd at 6k, he was running right behind Michael Ward from Bradley, and it was clear they would battle for first and second place.
Fischer and Ward ran by the crowd and disappeared behind a turn in the course. The women’s team sprinted to the finish line, anxiously waiting and hoping the first runner to turn the corner would be Fischer.
The sound of the lead gator was heard, and everyone squinted their eyes and leaned over the painted course outline to see who was sprinting down the homestretch. When the women’s team saw the Drake-blue jersey, they started screaming and cheering.
Fischer had taken a seven-second lead somewhere during the last 2k of the race, and he crossed the finish line with a victorious fist-pump and jersey pop.
The Drake cross-country team is tremendously proud of Fischer and all his accomplishments this weekend, but the season is not yet over. Both teams will compete at the NCAA Regional meet in two weeks at the University of Iowa. Reed Fischer will be looking to qualify for the NCAA National meet. The top two teams from each region, plus 13 additional teams, will advance to the national meet.
For Fischer to qualify as an individual, he must be one of the top-four finishers (and must also have finished within the top 25 of the region) aside from individuals who run on qualifying teams.
We aspire to get better each meet, and after each meet we will share one athlete’s new best mark. This week’s featured performance: Reed Fischer, 2016 MVC Cross Country Champion!