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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Feldhake finishes first at Panther Open

The Eastern Illinois cross country team opened the 2010 season on a high note with junior Matt Feldhake finishing in first place at the 2010 Panther Open held on the Panther Trail.

Feldhake’s time of 25:35.69 edged out second place finisher Josh LeBlanc, a senior from the University of North Dakota in the 8K race.

As he entered the final stretch, still trailing LeBlanc, Feldhake had only one thing on his mind: winning.

“I came off the end of the pond there with about 150 meters to go and I saw (Josh LeBlanc) was a couple of seconds ahead, if that,” Feldhake said. “I just heard everyone yelling and out here supporting, and I was like, ‘Man, I gotta beat this kid’.”

When he moved up into second place with about 1,200 meters to go, he said, he saw all of his coaches and teammates who weren’t competing.

“They were like, ‘You’re gonna beat this kid’,” Feldhake said. “We tightened it up through the first 5K, so I was trying to run people down the last 3K and bring my teammates with me and just get competitive and beat people.”

Feldhake said he tried to stay focused and relaxed at the end of the race. One he caught LeBlanc, he said he knew he was going to beat him, and he had to beat him.

“There’s no worse feeling than using all of your energy to catch someone and then getting beat by them,” Feldhake said.

Other notable men’s finishers for the Panthers included: freshman Ryan Ballard taking fourth with a time of 25:49.25, senior Jason Springer taking eighth with a time of 25:59.68 and junior Connor Kustief taking ninth with a time of 26:04.92.

Senior Brad LaRocque took 12th with a time of 26:10.01, sophomore Graham Morris took 15th with a time of 26:18.52 and freshman Danny Delaney took 19th with a time of 26:26.29, rounding out the Panthers top 20 finishers.

For the women’s team, the Panthers’ top finisher was sophomore Olivia Klaus. She finished fourth with a time of 18:15.93.

The 5K race was won overall by North Dakota junior Lindsay Anderson with a time of 17:41.78.

Other Eastern Illinois finishers included: sophomore Erika Ramos who finished eight with a time of 18:39.18, sophomore Gabriela Duenas in 10th with a time of 18:42.48, junior Brittany Arthur in 11th with a time of 18:55.54, sophomore Britney Whitehead in 13th with a time of 19:06.57 and senior Caitlin Napoleoni in 14th with a time of 19:09.86.

Sophomore Elizabeth Dole finished 20th with a time of 19:40.02 and freshman Casey Harms placed 24th with a time of 19:48.26 to round out the top 25.

Freshman Casey Harms was happy with her performance.

“It had been a long time since I raced, over a year ago. It was nice to get a competitive edge and nice to get out my first college meet,” she said. “This meet shows a lot. It shows how competitive of a team we have and what we need to improve on.”

Harms said that the Panthers can improve by continuing to follow the coach’s plan and staying healthy by avoiding illness.

The meet was a double-duel scoring event. The men’s team gained victories over Danville Community College, Milikin University, Oakland City University, the Illinois Track and Field Club.

Also, they earned wins over Division I schools SIU Edwardsville and the University of North Dakota.

The women also defeated Southern Illinois.

North Dakota won the women’s meet, while Eastern finished 2nd.

The day prior to the meet, Coach Erin Howarth said the meet would tell a lot about the season.

If the Panther Open was any sign of how the rest of the season will be, the Panthers look to be in good shape.

Friday, the Panthers will travel to Bloomington, Illinois for the Illinois Intercollegiate meet.

Dominic Renzetti can be reached at [email protected] or 581-7944.

Feldhake finishes first at Panther Open

Feldhake finishes first at Panther Open

Mike Hesslau sophomore and Matt Dettloff senior run in a pack formation during the cross country meet at Friday. (Seth Schroeder

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