Cross Country: Rain slows down Panthers

Monday, September 15 2008 - EIU Invitational

By: Brandy Provaznik/Staff Reporter

Posted: 9/15/08

Eastern's cross country team had been talking all week about what great shape its course was in for the EIU Panther Invite.

The trail was rolled out flat, the grass was cut short and the Panther Trail had new rocks - all ingredients for a fast race. But then the rain came.

It rained the majority of the day on Friday, and the fast course they had been running on all week was now soft and mushy.

"The course compared to last week, it's not even close," junior Aaron Iaun said. "We obviously got a lot of rain and the humidity was high. Not to make excuses or anything, it just wasn't ideal for running fast. It slowed everyone down."

Eastern head coach Geoff Masanet said if the rain made Eastern tired or slow, it should have made everyone tired or slow.

"What it could do, is that if someone went out really hard they would pay the piper later," Masanet said. "If someone got ahead of you it would be hard to go get them and catch up once things settled in because the course is just slow at foot."

Red-shirt senior Brad Butler said he felt sluggish during the race and like he was working harder in the first mile than he should have been.

"We might have just gotten used to the course being fast last week and all this week," Butler said. "Maybe that took more out of our legs than it should have, but it's the same for everybody. You can't change it."

The Panthers placed third overall in the men's race, with 57 total points, 79 points behind Southern IllinoisCarbondale.

The top finisher in the men's race was SIUC's Jeff Schirmer, who won the race for the second year in a row with a time of 25 minutes, 14.29 seconds. Butler was Eastern's top finisher in sixth place.

The first across the finish line in the women's race was Beth Whalen, running unattached with a time of 18:12.84. The Panther women placed sixth in the women's race with 136 points. Sophomore Caitlin Napoleoni was the first of the Panthers to cross the finish line in 23rd with a time of 19:54.08.

"We had expectations to try and run a hard race and to execute certain things with regard to packing, putting in moves at different times, and finishing hard," Masanet said. "And collectively we didn't really achieve or accomplish any of those things."

Masanet said he is going to start re-evaluating the training and seeing what he can adjust to get some better performances on race days.

The Panthers do not have another meet for two weeks, when they head to Carbondale on Sept. 27 for the SIU Saluki Invite.

"Our next two races will definitely be an improvement," Iaun said. "They are fast courses, and I know we will come out and do a lot better. Those good races are there for us. I know we have them in us."

Brandy Provaznik can be reached at 581-7944 or at

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