The Creighton men’s and women’s cross country teams ran in the Midwest regionals last week, with the men’s team finishing in 23rd and the women’s in 26th.
“I really liked what I saw from both teams,” coach Chris Gannon said. “The guys ran well and were able to beat some teams we hadn’t beaten before, while the girls had a lot of really good individual performances that I know we can build on.”
Senior John Quigley led all Bluejay finishers with a 65th place finish. Following Quigley for Creighton was freshman Ryan Montera in 125th, an impressive performance for his first collegiate regional.
“It was a nice culmination for all of my hard work I have done this year,” Montera said.
Rounding out the Jays’ scoring was senior Aidan King (134th), sophomore Jack Larsen (138th), and sophomore Marcos Gonzalez (168th).
On the women’s side, it was senior Danielle Hotalling who led the way yet again for Creighton, pacing the Jays with a 91st place finish. Right behind her was fellow senior Marguerite Hendrickson in 97th.
The remaining trio of Jays scorers were sophomores Caroline Colburn (157th), Morgan Koca (171st), and junior Ashley Riley (186th).
“Overall I thought we all ran really good races,” Hotalling said. “It was nice to be stacked against the best teams in the region because we got to measure our progress and see where we need to go.”
The meet concludes the seasons for both teams-- seasons that both saw a lot of growth and progress.
“The theme I wanted to emphasize for this year is normalizing success,” Gannon said. “We belong at a high level and need to show it.”
For the men’s team, this theme emerged with a strong opening performance at the Hawkeye Invitational and persisted throughout the year, led by a talented senior group consisting of Quigley and King.
Quigley was the men’s team’s highest scorer at each of the six competitions the Jays took part in this fall.
But as the team looks to next year, the departure of Quigley and King will pass the task of normalizing success to young, but experienced, underclassmen like Montera.
“I know we have big shoes to fill for next year, but we have a lot of potential and drive to get to that next level,” Montera said.
For the women, it will be almost the exact opposite.
Senior standout Danielle Hotalling will be returning for a fifth year and will be charged with leading a strong group of returning performers, including four out of their five scorers for the Midwest Regional.
Both teams may have to rely on incoming freshmen from Gannon’s class of 2022 signings for scoring, but that is what many other teams are also facing with the effects of COVID eligibility rules.
“We have a very young but ambitious team and I know that gaining ground this fall will only help us as we move to the spring and next fall,” Hotalling said.
Whether it be this mix of returning experience for the women or the youth of the men’s team, both programs have a solid ground-work for continuing their upward progression next fall.