What a weekend it was for the Knox College Cross Country team: at the Illinois College Invitational, the men’s team placed second out of 13 teams. On a muddy and unfavorable course in Jacksonville, Ill, the men and women combined for five new entries into the All Time Top 25 records.
“The team entered this meet more mentally prepared than any meet thus far,” junior Gabe Moreno said. “Honestly, I feel more confident now in the team’s performance and mental fortitude than I have at any other point this year. We’re hitting our stride on all accounts.”
No runner is hitting his stride more than Moreno himself, as he finished second out of 122 runners in the men’s 8000 meters. Senior Sean Choate pushed Moreno throughout the race, finishing right behind him in third. They had times of 26:12 and 26:20 respectively. Senior Jacob Buddell and sophomore Victor Schultz also finished in the top 20, a sign of team’s depth.
“[Buddell and Schultz’s times were] very promising, and a confidence boosting sign headed into conference,” Moreno said.
Moreno continued to say that having a pack of several runners close together is not only encouraging for future events but also feeds inter-race competition, pushing each runner to be better and better.
Cross country as a unit has continually been pushing their limits after having all-Conference medalists on the team last year for the first time in recent memory, which has raised the standards of many of the runners on the team. Moreno, one of the conference medalists from a year ago, has a mindset of constant improvement. When asked about whether he has met his goals for the year Moreno said he was pleased but not satisfied.
“It’s a tricky question. Yes and no. I’m still chasing my time goal, [and] being an effective team captain is a never-ending goal with steadily increasing demands. I’ve always thought that when I’m convinced I’ve achieved everything, That is when I need to re-assess my goals and effectiveness. So for the sake of that, I’ll say I’m achieving, but nowhere near done doing so,” he said.
On the women’s side freshmen Mikella Duffy-Webb and Melissa Silva each finished in the top-40 to give the team ninth place finish out of 12 teams.
The Cross country team as a whole is under the impression they are nowhere near the peak of their potential either, and the team looks to feed on the confidence at their next meet, the Midwest Conference Championships on Oct. 27 at St. Norbert College.