Last Saturday, Oct. 18, the men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in their first of two home meets, the Prairie Fire Invite.
This was a small meet with only three teams competing. Both of Knox’s teams took second. Top runners for Knox were senior Karen Brophy who finished fourth and senior Mike Dooley who placed eleventh.
“The [Prairie Fire Invite] was mostly just about getting tuned up for the conference meet,” said Junior Ryan Maniscalco. “It was a good opportunity for us to run a race on the same course we will be running conference on. It is nice to have the conference meet on our home turf; it makes things a lot easier on us and definitely gives us a certain advantage.”
For a lot of runners, Saturday’s invite was a good way to find out where they stood for the conference championship, which is just a few weeks away and will be taking place on Knox’s home cross country course. But Head Coach Patrick Irwin isn’t putting as much weight in the results.
“I’m not taking much away from this meet. It was a small meet. The conference meet will be bigger, which will help the runners’ times,” Coach Irwin said.
Whether or not this meet was good at determining the standings at Conference, hopes are still high for the team to do well in two weeks.
“I think the team is going to run amazing this year,” senior Karen Brophy predicted. “Everyone is really trying and putting in hard work, and it keeps showing. I think the scores will also be pretty close this year, so this is going to be a really exciting event. Overall, I know the team is going to finish ahead of where we finished last year, and I believe with all of my heart that everyone can run their best at this meet.”
Between now and then, it’s business as usual for the cross-country team.
“I don’t want them to feel anything out of the ordinary in these next weeks,” said Coach Irwin of the team’s preparation for the conference meet.
The next meet for the cross-country teams will be the conference championships on Nov. 1 at Lake Storey Park in Galesburg.