Cross country teams head to Louisville Classic


File Photo | The Daily Eastern News

The Eastern men’s cross country team starts the race in the EIU Walt Crawford Open on Sept. 3 at the Tom Woodall Panther Trail. The team placed first overall in the event.

Dylan Meek, Cross Country Reporter

The Eastern Illinois men’s and women’s cross country teams head to the Louisville Classic Saturday, Oct. 1st the men’s 8K begins at 9:30 a.m. and the women’s 5K begins at 10:15 a.m.

It is one of the largest meets of the year with 35 teams for the men and 45 teams for the women teams, including a few OVC Schools, Eastern, SEMO, UT Martin Tennessee Tech, Tennessee State, and Morehead State.

Eastern is coming off a second-place finish as a team for the men’s side during the Redbird Invite. Senior Dustin Hatfield led the way with a 3rd place finish at 24:09 in his first race of the season. Andrew Pilat finished 6th with a time of 24:51.

Adam Swanson finished 10th with a time of 25:06. Richie Jacobo, and Josh Whittaker finished the top 5 for Eastern runners with a 17th and 23rd place finish at 25:35 and 25:55.

Those 5 are expected to lead the way again for Eastern Saturday as last year Dustin Hatfield broke the EIU record for the 8K at the Louisville classic last year with a time of 23:28. The men’s team is ranked 14th in the regional poll entering the meet.

The woman’s team is coming off a 5th place finish at the Redbird invite the top finisher for Eastern was Kate Bushue with a 20th place finish at 22:47 followed by Sarah Carr with a 24th place finish at 22:58.

The rest of the top 5 for Eastern included Mackenzie Aldrich, Sam Mabry, and Breana Sheldon coming in at 27th, 33rd, and 41st at times of 23:11, 23:27, and 23:58.

The meet will be a showcase on where Eastern is compared to other teams with a large meet like this and can give a preview of what the conference will be like.