Lang and Mroczynksi Finish Strong at Pre-Nationals
Oct. 18, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State sophomores Kirsten Lang and Matt Mroczynski led the efforts of the Redbird men's and women's cross country team Saturday at the Indiana State Pre-Nationals on the LeVerne Gibson Championship Course. Lang covered the 6K course in a personal-best 22:33.4 in the women's Blue race, while Mroczynksi placed 69th with a time of 24:39.1 in the men's White race 8K.
The Illinois State women finished 35th out of a field of 41 nationally and regionally ranked competitors. Nationally ranked No. 1 Washington won the women's Blue team race and No. 16 Wisconsin's Gwen Jorgensen took the top-individual honors covering the course in 20:19.3.
The Redbird men finished 24th in a tough field of 40 nationally and regionally ranked teams from around the country. No. 10 Stanford won the men's White Race and Samuel Chelanga of Liberty won the race with a time of 22:51.3.
Lang was the first to cross the finish line and was followed by the pack of her team who all finished within 10 positions of each other. Junior Kim Ebbesen finished 189th with a time of 22:43.2 followed by sophomore Jess Husted in 190th with a time of 22:44.5. Freshman Aisha Praught (193th, 22:46.3) and Michelle Brunk (197th) completed the race in 22:48.5 to round out the scoring performances for ISU.
"The women ran the first race of the day," said head coach Jeff Bovee. "Last year this course ran really fast but, this year the course was slower. They got a lot of rain this year, and the grass was much thicker so times were slower.
"The women had a great effort for competing in a meet like this when there are so many talented runners. I think that they will be ready to go in two week at conference (State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championships held on Nov. 1). Another positive I think was Aisha who has really bounced back from being injured and Kirsten really had a great race and was able to jump in there. This is really her kind of race; the course was giddy and hilly it is her type of challenge."
On the men's side, senior Mike Richardson was the second Redbird to cross the finish line running a personal-best time of 24:48 and was followed by teammate junior Scott Krapf who covered the course in 24:58.3 (109th). Sophomores Jon Roberts (25:18.1) and Jim Link (26:17.9) finished in 150th and 233rd, respectively.
"I really felt like our guys had a good day," said Bovee. "Mike had a great day and ran a really smart race early on. Our first four guys were running up there with the top guys from around the country. There was a lot of good guys and just coming in here and having some success is going to be huge for us."