Kurtenbach blazes the trails as Maroons begin season

Commitment to improvement in the offseason has allowed the No. 11 ranked men’s and women’s Cross Country teams to build on last year’s impressive campaigns early in the season.

By Max Hawkins

With impressive starts to the season, the No. 11 Chicago women’s and men’s cross country teams have not lost a step coming off a strong 2014 season. Last year, the women finished second at the UAA championship and 12th at nationals in Mason, OH. The men finished third at the UAA championship with now fourth-year Michael Frasco qualifying for nationals and finishing 61st.

“Most of the team did their summer training, and came into our August preseason on campus in good fitness, so we were able to build on that the weeks before our first competition,” said fourth-year Henry Blood.

That training appeared to reveal itself as the men placed second in their first meet of the season on September 4th at St. Francis in Joliet, IL. Third-years Gareth Jones, Nick Nielsen, and Timofey Karginov all ran the 5K in under 16 minutes, with the team finishing in the top ten. Frasco and second-year Peter Kreuch placed 12th and 15th respectively, while first-years Ansel Richards and Jacob Gosselin finished 17th and 20th running 16:23 and 16:37, respectively.

The women swept the top spots, both finishing first and boasting five runners in the top six spots. Second-year Khia Kurtenbach won the race with a time of 18:41, while fourth-year Catherine Young finished third with a time of 18:52, second-year Kelsey Dunn finished fourth with a time of 18:53, fourth-year Brianna Hickey finished fifth with a time of 18:59, and second-year Cassidy McPherson finished sixth with a time of 19:01.

In the second race of the season, both teams traveled to Warrenville, IL for the Wheaton Invite. The men’s team had another impressive result, posting 66 total points buoyed by strong individual performances. Jones and Frasco placed in the top 10 by virtue of running 25:58 and 26:15 respectively in the 8K, while Karginov placed 12th, Blood placed 18th, and Kreuch finished 22nd. Unfortunately, their efforts were not enough as the team placed second behind No. 4 Wash U. Wash U finished with 25 points.

The women also finished second to No. 4 Wash U, finishing with 57 points to Wash U’s 46. Kurtenbach placed a second straight top five finish with a time of 22:26 in the 6K, while Hickey and Young again finished in the top 10, running 22:58 and 23:05 respectively. Third-year Madeleine Horvath and Dunn finished 13th and 21st overall, while second-year Claire Costelloe and first-year Anastasia Bernat finished 23rd and 35th.

“Adjusting to school, and keeping up the quality of our workloads will be key to our continued success,” said Blood. Both teams look to continue their hot starts with the women led by Kurtenbach and the men led by Jones on Friday, October 7 in Bourbonnais, IL. Bourbonnais is the summer home of the local amateur football team, the Chicago Bears.