The cross country team broke program records at the 33rd annual Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday.
Senior Megan Billington placed 10th at 21:43:80 followed by senior Madeline Huglen at 11th place with 21:44.20, both exceeding the program’s Division-I record of 21:56:00.
Overall, the women’s team finished third with 106 points. Minnesota, the competition’s host, totaled 52 points to win the race while Cal. Baptist totaled 82 points for runner-up.
The Coyotes competed against 15 schools on the men’s side and 13 on the women’s side, including five other Summit League schools.
The women’s team is now ranked fifth in the NCAA’s Midwest region.
Senior Eldon Warner led the men’s team, clocking a time of 25:01.5 in the 8,000-meter race for an individual finish of 15th place. Warner broke the six-year standing record of 25:03.7
“All the hard work is paying off,” Warner said. “Distance running is a sport of constant grind, so you learn to love the grind and live for the grind and I could not do that without my coach and my team,” Warner said.
The men’s team finished in 12th place with 338 points. Duke took the win with 74 points, followed by Minnesota with 77 points.
Billington said a summer read motivated her to make the most of her last season as a Coyote runner.
“I read a book this summer called “Everybody Always” and one of the chapters was called ‘last one, best one’. I decided that would be a good motto to go by for my senior season,” Billington said.
Huglen said the team had seen continuous improvement throughout the year as every runner, from bottom to top became faster at each race.
“I attribute the success to lots of hard work, good coaching, great teammates, and a whole lotta Jesus,” Huglen said. “The course is always challenging but it was for sure the best Griak meet experience I have had in college.”
With conference championships in sight, Warner said setting a record is a stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of winning a team conference and national championship.
“I run for the name on my jersey and for my teammates wearing the same name. This means that I have to keep pushing myself and keep moving forward,” he said.
The Coyotes complete their regular season with Bradley “Pink” Classic at Peoria Illinois on Friday, Oct. 12.