Louisville, Ky. —
Led by the school-record time of Terre Haute freshman John Mascari, the Indiana State men’s cross country team placed 19th out of 40 teams in the NCAA Pre-Nationals championships Saturday.
Mascari finished 34th with a time of 23 minutes, 55.0 seconds. That beat teammate Al Escalera’s previous mark of 24:05, set two weeks ago in the Notre Dame Invitational.
“We went out a little more conservative than we did at Notre Dame,” Mascari said. “I think we were about 4:45 at the mile. So I felt a little tired. But as the race went on, I felt stronger.
“When I hit 5,000 meters, I think we were 14:58. I felt better. We ran really smart today, I keyed off of [teammate Dustin] Betz and Al for a while and hung onto them. The last two miles, I tried to hang on the best I could with the second group. I just wanted to hang on for dear life and see what I could do.
“I thought the team did well today. Gabe [Ocasio] had been hurt and cross-training this week and it was nice to see him put on a show. Betz PR’d by 30 seconds and everyone ran well. We still have a lot of work, though. We have conference [championships] in a few weeks.”
Following Mascari for ISU were senior Escalera in 56th (24:05), senior Betz in 87th (24:22), sophomore Tristan Selby in 170th (25:01), freshman Ocasio 183rd (25:07), freshman Taylor Head 216th (25:29) and sophomore Milton Brinza 260th (26:23). Competing in the unseeded race was ISU senior Corey Hahn, who finished in 25:49.
“I think we went out a little more conservative than we did at Notre Dame. That probably helped us because the guys kept moving up right through the race. John and Al moved well from the 5,000 meters and John’s run was outstanding. It was a new school’s best and Al was close behind with his best ever,” ISU men’s coach John McNichols said.
Colorado won the team title with 72 points. Next were Brigham Young with 127 points, Oregon with 152, Florida State 275, Duke 287, Virginia Tech 288, Tulsa 292, Villanova 338, Georgetown 351, Florida 369, Eastern Michigan 369, Louisville 384, Boise State 399, William and Mary 434, Butler 465, McNeese State 470, Air Force 475, Lamar 516, Texas El-Paso 519 and Indiana State 530.
“We had Betz run a huge 30-second personal best. After that, we had a big gap. It was about 80 places or so, but you really can’t be too mad with the great times run today,” McNichols said.
The ISU women’s team also competed in the Pre-Nationals and placed 14th in a field of 27 teams in the unseeded section.
The Sycamores were led by junior Jessica Zangmeister. She finished 15th in a personal-best time of 21:49, which ranks seventh in school history.
Behind Zangmeister for the Sycamores were sophomore Nicole Lucas in 43rd (22:14), junior Kalli Dalton in 91st (22:48), senior Hanna Mercer in 130th (23:18), freshman Amy Hicks in 198th (24:18), senior Serena Simeoli in 213th (24:39), junior Lindy Jones in 215th (24:41), junior Shelby Sands in 223rd (24:59) and freshman Emily Cotterman in 225th (25:16).
“It was a really nice individual performance by Jessica Zangmeister in a pretty tough field,” ISU women’s coach John Gartland said. “We were in the unseeded section, but there were some great individuals up front. She finished 15th and she looked great and consistent the whole time. Nicole Lucas had about two-thirds of a great race. She couldn’t quite finish it up in a good field. She still finished a very respectable 43rd overall. We finished 14th as a team, which is a huge disappointment, but Kalli Dalton had an Achilles injury and Hanna Mercer was dealing with sickness. They both kind of did it for the team and we knew in this particular meet we were going to be short a number five runner. Amy Hicks stepped up to be our No. 5, but we had too big of a gap and let other teams beat us.”
Utah Valley won the unseeded section with 154 points.
The Sycamores will compete in the Missouri Valley Conference championships in two weekends at Normal, Ill.