Despite temperatures being less than ideal for a late September race SVSU’s cross country teams were back in action.
They competed at the Warrior Invitational in New Boston, Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Senior Jordan Walters said the temperature reaching near 90 degrees played a role in his race.
“We ran on probably the hottest day in September,” he said. “We were really feeling the heat out there. However, our fitness really showed, and we were still able to run pretty well.”
As a senior leader, Walters said he thought the importance of a smaller meet like the Warrior Invitational is about preparing younger teammates for championship season races.
“Today was mainly about getting the younger guys like Deardorff and Grifka a chance to race and see how they compete,” Walters said.
He said he was happy with the teams performance.
“If you set times aside, I think we competed pretty well given the heat,” he said.
Going into the race, both teams received votes in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association weekly national poll.
Although the women remain unranked, the men’s team is ranked 15th in the nation. Both teams finished the meet in second place.
Junior Maggie Pawelczyk was out front for the Cardinals with a ninth place finish on the women’s side.
The men were led by freshman Sam Deardorff and Alex Grifka, finishing 10th and 11th, respectively.
Adding to an already impressive freshman season, Deardorff ran a time of 27:38 for the 8,000 meter race.
Deardorff, who last week ran a lifetime best at Spartan Invite, said early season racing is important for runners.
“It’s only September,” he said. “I’m just focusing on the next meets that are for all the marbles.”
In the women’s race, Pawelczyk ran a season best of 24:20 for 6,000 meters, despite the hot and humid conditions.
Following close behind her was sophomore teammate Arianna Wegienka. Wegienka finished 14th overall with a time of 24:10.
Both teams finished just one place behind fellow GLIAC school Wayne State University.
The teams will take a break from racing next weekend. They will prepare for the Lansing Cross Country Invite.
The competition will be hosted by Lansing Community College on Friday, Oct. 4.