From the Trail to the Track: Cross Country Runners Take on Track and Field


BY EMMA PRESBURG – STAFF WRITER 

On Friday, April 14, Track and Field will wrap up the regular season at home with the Centre twilight meet, Centre College’s Game of the Week. After this, the Colonels will enter the SAA conference tournament.

For some of these athletes, SAA competition is nothing new this year, having participated in Cross Country in the fall.

The Colonels have ten women and twelve men that compete on both the cross country and track teams.

On the women’s side, seven first years (Jennie Clark, Anaís Duboeuf, Courtney Gibson, Mary Douglas Hallman, Olivia Honaker, Melanie Manning, Margueritte Wheeler), one sophomore (Annie Rodenfels), and two seniors (Serena Gale-Butto, Celeste Grubb) compete in both cross country and track and field.

“Going from cross country to track isn’t a huge difference but there definitely are some differences,” said first year Mary Douglas Hallman.

“For starters, our workouts change a good bit as far as how much mileage we are doing for each workout as well as it is more speed related most of the time.” she continued.

Hallman is currently in third place in the women’s 10,000m with a time if 43:34.14.

Sophomore Annie Rodenfels is currently first in the 1500m, 5000m, and 3000 Steeple and second in the 800m. Rodenfels was named the SAA women’s’ track athlete once so far this season and also won SAA Cross Country Runner of the Week once in the fall. She was also named to the 2016 SAA Women’s Cross Country All-Conference First Team and the 2016 Women’s Cross Country All-Sportsmanship Team.

First year Douglas Hallman elaborated on some of the differences between track and cross-country saying, “The atmosphere of the meets is different as well because all eyes are on you when you are in the stadium as well as your coaches are there every lap with your splits,”

She added “It’s also just a lot flatter which is super helpful. There are no surprise hills or anything…It is a lot easier to pace and I feel like I can pace it more accurately just because there is no weird footing or surprise hills or weird ground to run on.”

For the men, seven first years (Cruz Avendano Dreyfuss, Wilson Blakeman, Cameron Durham, Matthew Gray, Garret McCorkle, Evan Miller, Kevin Wagoner, Collin Wells), one sophomore (Keenan Jones), two juniors (Christian Apel, Nathan Riggs), and one senior (Alex Stickney) run the course and the track.

“I like the variety of events and people that track and field brings,” said first year Cruz Avendano Dreyfuss, adding “Running on a track lets you focus on the act of physically running (form, cadence, feel) as opposed to cross country where there are always micro-adjustments to make due to varied terrain.”

Junior Christian Apel also commented on the difference: “Many non-runners I know see cross country and track as virtually the same sport, and while they have their similarities, the two are extremely different in many ways,”

He continued, “First, everyone in cross country runs the same distance. In track, there are long distance events that athletes can compete in, but there are also middle distance, and sprints,”

As Track and Field begins to winding down, there is little time to rest for many of these men and women who have cross-country coming right at the beginning of fall semester.


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