Lauren Taylor | Echo
With a series of victories and personal records, Taylor's men's and women's cross country teams are starting out the season with great success.
The men's head coach Lance Vanderberg says the Trojans are starting the season strong with a mixture of talented newcomers and experienced returners running. The women's team is standing at No. 10 with a record of 30-1, and the men are No. 13 with a record of 31-4.
"We have a very young team, so to see a lot of our young athletes step up, running really well, and having good times is really encouraging," sophomore Hunter Smith said.
According to the women's head coach Quinn White, the team is melding well together and showing great unity. Smith finds this to be true as well on the men's side.
With six new freshmen on the men's roster this year, the team adds some friendly competitiveness to the atmosphere.
"This year we have a lot more depth in our lineup," said Smith. "We have a lot of guys running similar times and competing for the top spots."
On Sept. 8th, the Trojans competed in the Indiana Wesleyan Invite, their first meet of the season. The men finished in first place as a team, with six Taylor runners in the top 12 places. Smith obtained the first-place title of the 8K race with a remarkable personal record of 25:40, with freshman Josh Roth right behind him at 25:43.
At their second meet, the Crossroads League Preview, both Trojan teams brought home another victory. Both the men's and women's teams placed five of the top nine runners in their races.
At their most recent meet, freshman Sarah Harden accomplished a personal record of 18:25 in the Women's 5K race. Harden shared that she was simply running her own race. She feels this is a good start to the season, and has a goal to lower her time below 18 minutes this year.
Today, the Trojans will be competing in the Bethel Invitational Meet.
"Our goal is to win the meet and solidify our NAIA ranking," said Vanderberg. "Both teams have a strong chance of winning their respective meets and are working to push each other to do their best and hit good times.
As the season progresses, White says the Trojans have high hopes of carrying on with their success and following in the footsteps of the past Trojan runners as they make their way to Nationals. Both teams show great potential for the remainder of the season, competing for the league title and pushing to raise their national rankings.
The Trojans will compete at the Bethel Invitational this afternoon with the women's race kicking off at 5 p.m., followed by the men's race at 5:45 p.m.
"Photograph provided by Quinn White"