Dukes run the course at Duquesne Duals
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 22:09
As the sun came up Saturday morning, the Dukes’ men’s and women’s cross country teams took to the Schenley Oval in their first meet of the season.
Although it was 20 degrees cooler than last year’s opener, the Dukes came away with the same outcome and won both contests at Duquesne Duals
The men’s team went 5-0 in their eight kilometer run against the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Robert Morris, Youngstown State and Saint Vincent, while the women finished 4-0 in the 5k, defeating Pitt, CMU, RMU and YSU.
Senior Jim Spisak led the men’s team with a time of 24:54, followed by sophomore Alex Woodrow (26:16) in second, junior Chuck Lockwood (26:21) in third and sophomore Evan Gomez (26:31). The Dukes took the top eight spots of the 59 competitors in the men’s Duals.
Junior Amber Valimont finished atop the women’s standings at 18:13. Carly Seymoure, a transfer graduate student from Duke University, placed second at 18:21, followed by sophomore Danica Snyder (18:37) in third and junior Hailey Pisarcik (18:46) in fourth. The women’s team had six runners in the top 12 of the 75-runner field.
Coach Jim Lear was enthused by the men’s performance.
“Obviously, [they were] very good. [Jim] Spisak is in another world,” Lear said. “[We’ve] got some depth on the men’s side. [The] times [were] quite good for [the] heat.”
Spisak, who finished 26 seconds better than his 2011 Duals time and 1:22 better than Woodrow at this year’s meet, was content with his finish.
“[I’m] happy with it. My goal was get a good workout out of it,” Spisak said.
Lear sees a strong season from Spisak this year.
“If he stays healthy, he has a good shot at qualifying for NCAA,” Lear said.
The team also performed well, Spisak explained.
“They looked good. We took [places] 1 through 8, a positive going forward,” Spisak said. “Younger guys stepped up [and] got experience running in pack.”
Lockwood, who finished 1:10 better than his 27:31 time last year, understands his and his teammate’s roles.
“Spisak’s always out front, I always want to be our 2-3 guy,” Lockwood said. “Besides Spisak, we all want to run in a pack, so you can help each other push.”
Besides Spisak and himself, Lockwood believes that the rest of the men’s top 7 will be made up of sophomores, as they have a strong group and some older guys are injured. Sophomores Woodrow and Gomez both finished in the top 5 at the Duals.
Valimont, with a 27 second improvement in her time from last year’s Duals, put importance on getting back into shape, rather than improving individual times.
“Today’s not really about time, it's to get used to racing again … We’ve struggled with team unity in past years, the team worked well together today,” Valimont said.
Lear agreed with the importance of the Duals, and sees the team doing well this season.
“Today is an opportunity to see where training all summer put you,” Lear said. “Look good, we can challenge to be in top three, in both teams, if we stay healthy.”
Valimont is optimistic about the year as well.
“[I] hope this year is year where we perform well together,” Valimont said. “I think we have strong top group, like to see 6-7-8- keep getting better. We always struggled with that.”
Coach Lear said he was happy with the women’s results, saying they had a “super strong top four” and called Carley Seymour a “huge addition” to the team.
“[She’s] so good,” Valimont said. “Having her and working hard together, we could finish top in A-10.”
Both teams will race next at the National Catholic Invitational at Notre Dame on Sept. 14.