Written by Chamberlain Zulauf
The men’s and women’s cross-country teams flew to Memphis, Tennessee this past weekend to compete against 40 other teams throughout the south/southeastern region of DIII NCAA. Both teams met expectations as the women came in at 18th and the men at 19th. The south/southeastern region in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference stretches from Virginia too Florida and Texas.
“The Region Championship is for many runners the deepest and most stout competition they’ve ever faced. Late in the season it becomes no longer about gaining further fitness, but rather remaining strong, both physically but especially mentally, longer than other people you are racing,” Coach Tim Smith said.
Despite the travel fatigue, competition, and nerves, freshman Emma Mauras was able to finish with the lowest time out of anyone from Roanoke at 64th place out of over 200 runners. She beat her PR with a time of 23:50. Sophomore Hannah Koepfinger was also able to break the top 100 at 94th place. On the men’s side Sophomore Chamberlain Zulauf was 68th with a time of 26:53 followed by a pack of teammates including freshman Ryan Hamacher.
“I felt really good about my first college season… I performed well and am looking forward to racing the 5k in indoor track,” said Hamacher.
The women’s team was able to make a name for themselves this year with their 18th place. The men’s team managed to edge out Virginia Wesleyan who had beaten Roanoke two weeks earlier for third place behind the XC juggernauts of Washington and Lee and Lynchburg who placed third and fourth, respectively. The women were the fourth ODAC team to finish in the regional race.
“I am extremely impressed by these young people’s persistence, dedication, work ethic, and most important, heart. They conquered their fears, facing and defeating the mental demons that accompany the pressure of traveling far and competing in a championship this size,” said Smith.
The men and women are hopeful for the following years as they are young, mostly made of freshmen and sophomores, and full of talent. The distance program is hopeful to eventually upset the status quo and lead the ODAC into regionals as front runners.