By Tyler Wooten
CHARLESTON, Ill. -- Amid tornado warnings and heavy rain, the Southern Illinois men's and women's cross country teams were still able to take home team titles today at the EIU Walt Crawford Open.
Due to inclement weather, the men's and women's races were combined into one large race, with the women stopping at 5K and the men continuing to 8K. Twelve schools participated, and for the Division I schools involved this was scored as a double dual meet, which scores each team against one another instead of one large meet.
The Saluki men dominated as they took the top five spots. Sophomore Nick Schrader took the win in the men's 8K with a time of 25:26.36, narrowly edging out freshman teammate Juan Carrera, who clocked in at 25:26.60 with his second straight top-five finish. Not far behind were sophomore Even Ehrenheim (third), freshman Oscar Medina (fourth) and unattached freshman Brandon Shemonia (fifth), who all finished within 10 seconds of the lead time.
"Especially with Zach (Dahleen) not running today, this was an important race to see how we can compete without him," said head coach Matt Sparks. "Nick (Schrader) and Juan (Carrera) ran especially well. This was important to see which of our young guys were going to step up."
On the women's side in the 5K, the Salukis placed six runners in the top-20, four of them in the top-ten. Sophomore Lacey Gibson paced the Salukis in third place with a time of 18:13.74. Sophomore Sadie Darnell (sixth), and freshmen Kristen Levi(seventh) and Kelley Gallagher (ninth) also finished in the top-ten.
"I'm very proud of the women, too," Sparks said. "They ran in a pack at the top the whole time, which helped us get the team win there as well."
The Salukis return to action here in Carbondale on Sep. 22 at 10 a.m. for the Saluki Invitational.