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Cross country team sets pace for new season

September 8, 2015
KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo’s cross country team already is setting high standards for the group, breaking records at the first meet of the 2015 season.

The top three women’s runners broke the existing school record, and the team placed second out of seven at the Northwest Classic, at Purdue North Central. The men’s team finished third of six teams.

“The team works well together because they all have a common goal,” said Jason VanAlstine, head coach. “There is a good balance of competitiveness and fun for which the team strives to achieve.”

Taryn Thor (Kokomo/Northwestern HS), Brittany Sloan (Wabash/Northfield HS), and Caitlin Eltzroth (North Manchester/Northfield HS), beat the previous record of 21:20.

Thor placed fourth out of 48 female runners with a time of 19:42, while Sloan came in at fifth place.

“I want to become a stronger runner while improving my time for myself and for the team,” said Sloan, 18. “This meet was a great start to the season.”

Javier Vasquez (Frankfort/Frankfort HS) led the way on the men’s team, coming in second of 40 athletes. Sophomore Zach Duranto (Kokomo/Northwestern HS) flew in close behind Vasquez, in tenth.

“The team’s work ethic this year is phenomenal because we all have personal goals and team goals,” he said. “I personally want to drop down in the 27 minute range so I will push hard to accomplish that this season.”

Brad Jakes (Kokomo/Northwestern), a junior, has seen the team transform during his two seasons.

“I have seen good changes,” he said. “We go out and recruit runners who have the competitive edge the team needs.”

Cougar fans can support the team in its closest meet to home on Friday, September 11, when they compete at the Indiana Wesleyan University Invitational in Marion.

“This is a chance for the community and IU Kokomo to support the team closest to home,” said VanAlstine.

For more information and a complete schedule, go to iukcougars.com.

Story written by Kambren Stanley. Kambren is a student writer in the Office of Media & Marketing.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 09/08/2015