Wildcat Cross Country Season To Open Friday Night; Wayne Country Club Hosting Two Races

Wildcat Cross Country Season To Open Friday Night; Wayne Country Club Hosting Two Races
Courtesy of Wayne State Athletics.

WAYNE – Race number one of the season is coming up this weekend for the Wayne State College women’s and men’s cross country program as they begin year 2022.

The Wildcat women’s team was picked to finish 12th with 68 points while the WSC men earned 54 points and selected 11th in voting conducted by league coaches in the 2022 NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Marlon Brink is entering his 23rd season as the head coach for cross country at Wayne State College. He said the summer is a key time for cross country athletes to build their mileage up and aerobic fitness.

“We always tell them if you don’t come in in pretty decent shape, you’re going to be behind everybody else,” said Brink. “Just seeing them in the first week of practice or so here they’ve all looked like they’ve done a pretty decent job of that which is exciting to know that they’ve put that time and effort into it.”

During the Fall Festival year, teams get an extra two weeks at the end of the season which pushes the schedule back. WSC has picked up an extra meet as the conference and regional meets run two weeks later in the season.

During the early stages of practice, the WSC women’s and men’s cross country team has worked a little bit of speed work along with a VO2 max runs to test their fitness.

The top returner for the WSC women’s program is junior Brooke Solomon from Yankton, South Dakota.

Solomon worked on maintaining a higher mileage over the summer while staying consistent with training. She added it’s been great getting to know all the new girls on the younger team.

“Having such a young team is great because I think a lot of them hold such potential,” Solomon added. “I can see success in the future years with all of those people. It’s been good getting seeing them get into the college routine of things and then getting to work with us during practices.”

Coach Brink stated others to key on will be sophomore Lindsey Stuckey (York, NE) and junior Alison Stineman (Norfolk, NE).

 

A men’s cross country top returner is junior Brandon Mundorf from Springview, Nebraska.

The coaching staff gave each individual their own mileage they were suppose to hit over the summer and all completed one to two workouts a week. Mundorf is looking forward to the season-opening race this Friday during the Augie Twilight.

“It’s a night meet, it’s at 9 p.m. is when the men run,” Mundorf mentioned. “It’s a four-mile race, so it’s not your average cross country race which is usually an 8k. I would say probably my favorite race of the season. Always a fun meet to get here so you can start that off with.”

Senior Will McGonigal (Hailey, ID), junior Abe Schroeder (Ravenna, NE) as well as a newcomer junior Titus Kiptoo (Kapsabet, Kenya) who ran recently with the American International College prior to transferring to WSC are other top individuals coach Brink has highlighted.

WSC women’s and men’s cross country will showcase young talent with several new faces looking to step up this year.

Both Solomon and Mundorf were selected as Wildcat Athletes to Watch this season and are excited to compete twice at the Wayne Country Club.

“Just keep trying to improve on that every year,” said Solomon. “It definitely is a tough course, so I’m excited to see our improvement and really see how we can adjust to that more throughout these next couple years.”

“Once before conference will be nice to get a feel for it again to race on it (Wayne Country Club),” Mundorf added. “Then conference this year, we want to run well here at conference, kind of defend our own course and do well at that as a team.”

The 2022 Wildcat cross country season will begin on Friday, September 2 at Yankton Trails Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Coach Brink said the Augie Twilight meet brings in 250 – 300 runners each race under the lights.

“So, they basically make one-mile loops,” said Brink. “The women run 5K and the men run four miles which is a little bit shorter than their normal race distance. But it’s flat and it’s fast and just a great atmosphere for racing.”

The women’s race is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. and men’s race at 9 p.m.

Other cross country meets on the schedule include the Nebraska Meet in Lincoln on September 17; Wildcat Classic at the Wayne Country Club on September 23; Dordt College Invite on October 8 and Mount Marty Invite on October 22.

The NSIC Cross Country Championships will be back in Wayne on November 5 while the NCAA Division II Central Region Championships will be on November 19 in Joplin, Missouri.

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