2002 Cross Country
Intersquad Two-Mile Trial
Two-Mile Intersquad Trial Had Excitement Written All Over It
by Rupert Danberry
BLUFFTON, OH - On Friday, November 1, the Bluffton College Cross Country teams had a fairly important race to participate in. However, this race did not have the normal "meet" atmosphere surrounding it. This was a race with so much more on the line than the possibility of a PR, a collegiate meet championship, an HCAC conference title, or even an National meet birth, this was a race of bragging rights!
A two-mile time trial with high spirits, team competition, and trash talking all the way up to the start of the race. Everyone was involved including team members, alumni, and even the coach. "The atmosphere brought me back to my college years as butterflies set in and a nervous energy surged through my body. What a wonderful feeling that I dearly miss!," said Head Coach Derek Stanley of the pre-race.
Race conditions were less than ideal with the temperature settling around 39 degrees, a good 15 degrees cooler than average highs for the time of year. Add in a strong and variable 12 mph wind directly out of the West and the whole strategy of the race changed to a more tactical one.
The structure of the meet was designed to evenly separate the women's and men's teams to make for the most competitive race possible. The women's and men's races were run at the same time, untraditional to how cross country meets are in general, in order to make the race feel as "real" as possible. As the race wound through the nature preserve and up onto campus it was clear to on-lookers that the race was very close on the men's side and one team was running away with it on the women's.
In the men's race it was Andy Schiefer for team Beaver who continued his dominance from the conference meet and up held the dominance that he has always exerted in these "lower-scale" competitions winning the race with a time of 10:44. The next two spots were taken by team Bluffton participants as Steve Borga held 2nd place most of the race finishing in 10:46 and a surprise upset by Coach Stanley who used a phenomenal kick in the last 100 meters to establish himself 3rd place coming across the line in a 10:47. Following Stanley in 4th was Roy Kaplan (Beaver) in 10:55, 5th was Josh Tolley (Bluffton) in 10:57, 6th was Dan Rosebrock (Beaver) in 11:16, 7th was Andrew Smith (Bluffton) in 11:35, 8th was Josh Staggs (Beaver) in 12:03, 9th was Floyd Ward (Beaver) in 12:29, and 10th was Nick Garcia (Bluffton) in 12:41. When the final results were tallied Team Bluffton came away with a narrow one-point victory over Team Beaver 27-28.
In the women's race it was Rachael Szydlowski and Team Beaver who ran away with the race. Szydlowski used a good second mile surge to hold on for the win covering the two-mile course in a 12:48. Just behind in 2nd place was teammate Carrie Hudecek who used a quick burst of speed in the last 50m to pass MaryAnna Morgan (Bluffton) who finished a close 3rd, each crossing the line at the same time of 12:50. Crossing the line 4th was Jen Creamer (Beaver) in a 13:14, 5th was Lauren Borga (Bluffton) in a 13:20, 6th was Jen Niedermier (Bluffton) in a 13:38, 7th was Stephanie Welch (Bluffton) in a 13:46, 8th was Rachel Noirot (Beaver) in a 14:39, 9th was Alicia Stanko (Beaver) in a 15:17, and finishing up in 10th, a little more out-of-shape than expected, was returning alumni Ben "Bernin" Noll (Bluffton) who crossed the line with a 15:27. Team Beaver ran away with this race in the front and in the back where position really counted, 24-31.
"This format is a special one because if you can pass someone from another team, it's a two-point swing and that means a lot when you win by only one point," Coach Stanley said of the race. Roy Kaplan of the losing Beaver team was heard saying, "it's the races where you have to have speed that I don't do well in," commenting on his inability to hang with Coach Stanley. When asked about Dan Rosebrock's performance Coach Stanley said, "Who?, oh, the guy I passed just after the mile, come on now you're going to hurt his feelings." Andy Schiefer said, "this is an omen of things to come," referring to the all-important Coaches Challenge coming up this week. Others could not be reached for comment but it was reported that Steve Borga walked out of the stadium with a "smile on his face." Being the lone senior on the team, no doubt that win had some special meaning.
Elated with the victory Rachael Szydlowski was quoted as saying, "I'm just glad I won." Alumni Ben Noll was caught for comment after the race but kept saying, "I hate running." Stephanie Welch who had a good performance told reporters, "I don't know why she gets to keep her uniform, its just not fair!" No other women could be reached but it was reported that Carrie Hudecek was going through the dumpster looking for materials for next year's Halloween costume.