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Cross Country Performs Well at Pre-Nationals  
Matt Harter
Sports Columnist

The Pre-Nationals meet that occurred last Saturday signals the final stretch of of another cross-country season. The men and women traveled south to Sycamore country to take part in a meet that took place at LaVern Gibson, the same track used for Nationals. This allowed for runners to get a sneak peak of the track before the final meet of the season, which will occur on Nov. 17.

Manchester’s men and women faired well in the Pre-Nationals, which included 30 teams from across the country. The men finished eighth overall and the women finished fifteenth. Junior Jon Cafarelli led the Spartans, placing 22nd overall and junior Curtis Nordmann finished with a time good enough for 29th overall. The Lady Spartans were led by senior Karla Madrigal who finished in 27th place.

Another Lady Spartan, senior Amy Maciejewski, is pleased with how the season has gone so far. “I feel like the team has improved a lot and that we are meeting our goals; we are pretty strong right now,” she said.

Fellow teammate, Aubrey Smith, agrees with Maciejewski. “We are doing really well, working really hard and using each other to get better,” said Smith, a sophomore exercise science major. “I think one of our main goals is just to go into conference and win.” If that were to happen, it would be the fourth straight year for the women’s team.

On the men’s side of things, there have been many hurdles to jump over to get to where they want to be. “It’s been kind of rough because we’ve been having a lot of injuries lately,” Nordmann said. “Some guys have hip problems and there are a couple stress fracture worries, but I feel like everybody is starting to get healthier and coming around a little better. By the time we get to conference, hopefully the team will be ready.”

The amount of practice that goes into getting ready for a meet is taxing on the runners. “Right now I probably run 65-68 miles a week; it is a lot of miles,” said Nordmann as he exhaled. By the end of the season, Nordmann will be nearing 75 miles a week, while other members who are longer-distance runners will peak close to 90 miles a week.

Head Coach Brian Cashdollar tries to emphasize to his team that there is more to getting ready for a meet than just putting in the miles. “Over the past three weeks, he’s been telling us to do all the right things to get better,” Smith said. “It has to do with eating right, getting the right amount of sleep and going to class. Even studying and preparing for your classes right helps you get into that positive mood and keep focus.”

While a meet is going on, sometimes runners will stay together with teammates throughout the race. “It just depends on what kind of race it is,” Smith said. “Sometimes we run more controlled and will stay together the first mile, or sometimes we just go all out. It depends on the competition.”

Next up for the men and women will be the Conference Championship at Bluffton University, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 27. Following that meet will be the Regionals, which decide whether or not the Spartans move on to the Nationals. The top two finishers at Regionals advance to Nationals with several at-large bids. “There are a lot more stronger regionals out there and so if you really want a chance to get to Nationals, top three is the best to be in,” Nordmann said. “Even third is a gamble.” Regionals will take place on Nov. 10 and Nationals will occur a week later.

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