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Cross Country Teams Reaching Success

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Written by: Communicator StaffOctober 26, 2017

By: Emily Anderson

The Mastodons traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to compete in the Greater Louisville Classic on Sept. 30, then to Peoria, Illinois, to compete in the Bradley Classic on Oct. 13, representing their final chances at success before the Summit League Championship on Oct. 28 in Vermillion, South Dakota.

The team faced the obstacle of being short-handed since Fort Wayne Mastodon Emma Rafuse was in the top race and another team member, Morgan Blyly, was not healthy enough to compete. They overcame this potential pitfall, however, which Mastodons men’s and women’s cross-country head coach Mike Fruchey said made him proud.

Instead of training for the next tournament, Fruchey said the team’s focus is on the NCAA Great Lakes Regional and the Summit League championships at the end of October. For now, Fruchey said the focus of preparation and practice will be on “fine-tuning” for
these events.

The Bradley Classic, which was only 13 days before the championship, was competitive for both the women’s and the men’s teams. With expectations for quick times, as there were other Summit League teams present, Fruchey was looking to use this meet as a tuneup for conference.

Rafuse, the top finisher of all Summit League student-athletes, ended up earning fourth place out of 210 runners in the 6K event at the Bradley Classic.

On the men’s team, competitor Rob Peck made it to the top five, which Fruchey said was a much-anticipated success as his practices have been impressive. Fruchey said that overall the men’s team performed as expected, as they are very experienced.

Rafuse was the Summit League’s fastest runner in the 6K event at the Roy Griak Invitational held on Sept. 23. With a time of 22:11, Rafuse helped Fort Wayne earn 16th place to beat Summit League foe Omaha.

Additionally, at the Greater Louisville Classic held on Sept. 29, Rafuse placed 19th out of 328 runners. She now holds the three fastest times in the league. Rafuse was also recently awarded the Summit League Women’s Cross-Country Athlete of the Week honor, her fourth of the season.

“Emma improved during the track season but was able to put in great training this past summer to take her running to an elite level,” Fruchey said.