Cross country teams end seasons at Regionals

Kaitlin Cordes, Cross Country Reporter


Freshman Robby Prescott competes in the Bradley "Pink" Classic Friday, Oct. 14, at the Newman Golf Course in Peoria, Ill.
Justin Brown
Freshman Robby Prescott competes in the Bradley “Pink” Classic Friday, Oct. 14, at the Newman Golf Course in Peoria, Ill.

The cross country team ended its season at the Midwest Regional Saturday with three women finishing in the top 100 and two men finishing in the top 50.

Senior Ruth Garippo was the top finisher for the Eastern women with her 65th-place overall finish and a time of 21 minutes, 31.8 seconds.

Garippo was the women’s top finisher for three consecutive meets and finished seven seconds shy of her 6-kilometer school record.

Senior Ivy Handley finished 81st with a time of 21:41.8 followed by junior Maria Baldwin in 85th with a time of 21:44.7.

Baldwin said her favorite moment of Regionals was crossing the finish line and finding out how she and her teammates did.

“I was ready to see the damage we had done as a team because I knew we all finished close together,” Baldwin said. “I felt great when I crossed the finish line. It a very stress-relieving moment after a long season.”

Senior Rachel Garippo finished in the 106th place with a time of 22:01.2, and senior Julie James placed 161st, finishing the race in 22:41.1, making the two the final scored runners for Eastern.

Senior Emily Brelsfoard and freshman Sadie Elliott also competed and finished 170th and 193rd, respectively.

Baldwin said the portion of the race that was most challenging for the runners was the section of the course between the second and fourth kilometer because it was full of hills.

Seniors Riley McInerney and Paxson Menard led the men’s team with their top-50 finished.

McInerney finished the race in 31:02.5, earning him 33rd place. Menard placed 41st with a personal-best time of 31:09.0.

Menard said that when he crossed the finish line, the only thing on his mind was his teammates.

“As I crossed, I wasn’t thinking too much, but I focused on getting the team back together,” Menard said. “I found Riley because we finished around each other, and we congratulated other racers. I was trying to find the rest of the team to see how they were doing.”

Senior Tyler Yunk placed in the men’s top 100, finishing 90th with a time of 32:08.1.

Freshman Marcus Skinner and senior Juan Barajas were the final scored runners for Eastern. Skinner placed 137th with a time of 32:48.7, and Barajas finished 143rd with a time of 32:54.6.

Junior Chris Orlow placed 149th, and freshman Robby Prescott finished 156th in the men’s first 10-kilometer race of the season.

The Eastern women placed 20th as a team, earning 489 points. The men finished 16th with 423 points.

Karissa Schweizer of Missouri was the top finisher for the women’s competition, winning the race in 19:54.4. Missouri was also the meet’s top women’s team.

Luke Traynor of Tulsa won the men’s race in 30:18.5, and Tulsa was the top team on the men’s side.

Menard said this meet and his entire senior season inspired him to emphasize the familial aspect of Eastern cross country to newcomers and current runners alike.

“I want (them) to know that EIU isn’t just a team; it’s like a second family. I also want them to know that anything if they keep working towards goals that they want to accomplish,” Menard said.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]