Nov. 2, 2013
DENTON, Texas - It was a tough day for the Tulane cross country program, as they came up short in their bid for a title at the Conference USA Championships at the Eagle Point Cross Country Course in Denton, Texas on Saturday morning.
The Green Wave cross country program, who otherwise have had a solid season thus far, were battling a slew of injuries and illnesses that kept them from competing at the level they originally expected. The women's team placed 11th with a total of 338 points, while the men's team finished in 13th with a point total of 356.
Just a few weeks ago, the Green Wave women's team were at the top of their game, as they won their first meet championship since 2010 at the McNeese State Cowboy Stampede. But things were different on Saturday, with the aforementioned injuries to some key runners.
"We are unfortunately trying to manage some illness and some injury," said director of Tulane cross country and track and field Eric Peterson. "Three of our five runners on the women's side are managing either an illness, a minor injury or both. I'm certainly not trying to make any excuses about it, but this certainly wasn't the race we were hoping for."
Freshman Katharine Smiley led the way for the women's team, finishing 53rd with a time of 19:03.63. Right behind her was junior Paige Callahan, who had a time of 19:04.43. Callahan had led the Green Wave in every race she had competed in this year up to this point.
"This did not compare to the way we ran at McNeese several weeks ago," added Peterson. "Katharine and Callie Turlington (who finished with a time of 19:56.97) ran very solid races today, but it is a team effort. We care about all five runners. Paige wasn't able to lead the team, and Sara (Kebede) was our five-runner today, and that isn't typical of how we race."
Kebede ran in a time of 20:17.70. The other women's result on the day came from sophomore Mikayla Sonneborn, who wrapped up the race in 19:24.91.
Things were a bit more bunched together on the lower end of the men's side, keeping the team from finishing in the position it hoped for. Sophomore Adam Yohanan led the team with a time of 27:29.68, followed by junior Geoff Zelek's 27:43.95.
But from there, it fell off a bit, with sophomore Jack White (28:00.75), freshman Jack Curtis (28:34.37), freshman Kade Kistner (28:36.14) and sophomore Nicholas Meloro (28:56.97) finishing between 77th and 89th place.
"A difficult concept for our runners to pick up right now is how to run as a team," stated Peterson. "We need to apply the things in racing that we do every day in practice. Unfortunately, things that happen early in the race - even as early as the first kilometer - we are losing that continuity and commitment to running as a team. In a championship race like this, they are working hard and battling hard, and I certainly appreciate the effort, but the competitive aspect isn't there."
"Today just did not go the way we wanted it to," added Peterson.
Tulsa and UTSA tied for first on the women's side, while Tulsa also took the men's title.
Fans can follow the Tulane track and field and cross country programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
Women's Team Results, Points Scored
t-1. Tulsa, 67
t-1. UTSA, 67
3. North Texas, 105
4. East Carolina, 152
5. Charlotte, 155
6. Southern Miss, 158
7. Middle Tennessee, 163
8. UAB, 186
9. Rice, 189
10. Florida Atlantic, 221
11. Tulane, 338
12. Marshall, 379
13. FIU, 388
14. UTEP, 400
15. Louisiana Tech, 491
Tulane Women's Entries (out of 111)
53. Katharine Smiley, 19:03.63 (adj. - 52)
54. Paige Callahan, 19:04.43 (adj. - 53)
66. Mikayla Sonneborn, 19:24.91 (adj. - 64)
84. Callie Turlington, 19:56.97 (adj. - 81)
93. Sara Kebede, 20:17.70 (adj. - 88)
Men's Team Results
1. Tulsa, 26
2. North Texas, 63
3. Rice, 97
4. UTEP, 98
5. Middle Tennessee, 155
6. Charlotte, 174
7. UTSA, 201
8. Louisiana Tech, 210
9. East Carolina, 228
10. Marshall, 258
11. FIU, 313
12. Florida Atlantic, 349
13. Tulane, 356
Tulane Men's Entries
64. Adam Yohanan, 27:29.68 (adj. - 63)
69. Geoff Zelek, 27:43.95 (adj. - 66)
77. Jack White, 28:00.75 (adj. - 73)
80. Jack Curtis, 28:34.37 (adj. - 76)
82. Kade Kistner, 28.36.14 (adj. - 76)
89. Nicholas Meloro, 28.56.97 (adj. - 85)