The Saluki cross country teams turned in solid performances at the 15th annual Commodore Classic on Saturday, Sept. 15. SIU's men took ninth in the 14-team field while SIU's women finished 14th out of 19 teams.
"I think both our men's and women's teams competed well today," Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Rosalind Joseph said. "The men went into the meet with confidence. They were feeling good and ready to see this kind of competition. This is definitely a confidence booster that we can build on through the season."
Eastern Kentucky won the men's team title on the strength of five top-10 finishes. The Colonels scored just 20 points and the next closest team, Louisville, had 85 points. SIU finished ninth with 242 points and finished ahead of Clemson, who came into the meet ranked No. 13 in the southeast region.
Josh Maier led the Saluki men with a 24th place finish in a field of 138 runners. The redshirt senior cut six seconds off his time from last year after he ran the 8K in 25:48. Cain Hassimfinished 36th in 26:13, while Jacob DeWitt (26:56) and Theo Hassim (26:57) ran together and took 58th and 59th, respectively. Reid Parsons also scored for the Salukis.
On the women's side, Megan Krolak was SIU's top finisher. The redshirt junior from Peru finished the 5K in 18:33 to place 43rd in a crowded field of 186 runners. Krolak had an added advantage of being the only Saluki female runner to have raced at Percy Warner Park previously, as six of SIU's seven runners were running on the course for the first time.
It also served as the first road collegiate cross country meet for five of SIU's runners; Kayla Schiera, Grace McDurmon, Sydney Matusik, Amber Ruiz-Bueno and Maddy Hurt.
"There were a lot of things we were able to learn from this meet," Joseph said of her young women's team. "Our women will continue to grow and get stronger. But what I like most about this weekend was the ladies worked together as a team."
Olivia Murphy was the second Saluki to cross the fine line in 45th place at 18:45. Schiera was third at 19:41 while McDurmon (19:43) and Matusik (20:38) also scored for SIU.
Ohio State won the women's team title for the second-straight year with 105 points. Illinois (126), Vanderbilt (133), Lipscomb (142) and Xavier (146) rounded out the top-five. The Salukis finished 14th with 380 points ahead of Chattanooga, UAB, Murray State, Mercer and Tennessee State.
The Salukis are back in action at the Nuttycombe Invitational, hosted by the University of Wisconsin on Friday, Sept. 28.