Transylvania cross country tunes up for conference championships by competing at John McNichols Invitational

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Terre Haute, Ind.  – The Transylvania cross country team continued its trek through the 2019 season with a trip to Indiana for the John McNichols Invitational at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course on Saturday morning.

Hosted by Indiana State University, the event served as a preview of both the NCAA Division I National Championship meet as well as the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships, set for November 3.

The talented field of teams featured Division I powerhouses including Northern Arizona and Stanford, and Transylvania's fellow HCAC teams: Franklin, Hanover, and Rose-Hulman.

"The experience running on this course and competing not only against conference schools, but some of the best collegiate programs will benefit our mentality and focus moving forward as we look to return to this course for our conference championships," remarked Transylvania head coach Matthew Roden following Saturday's races.

Pacing the way for the Transylvania men's team was Jacob Burnam, who finished his first 8K event of the season in 154th place with a time of 27:36.7. Kortney Smith posted a career-best time of 22:26.5, good for 191st place in the women's race.

"Overall I am very pleased with today's performances'" remarked Roden. "Our men's team competed in their first full 8K race today and the extra distance can be an adjustment, but they hung tough and put forth some great early season times." 

As a team, the Pioneers finished in 19th place on the women's side and in 21st place in the men's race. 

"Competing in the same race with schools such as Stanford, Arkansas, Purdue, and Illinois can be an intimidating atmosphere, but both of our squads stayed true to their race and showed some great improvements overall," Roden added. I'm especially impressed with our freshmen athletes as they didn't allow the atmosphere to throw their mindset off."

The Pioneers will be back in action on Saturday, October 5 as they take part in the Greater Louisville Classic. The men's race is set for a 9:30 a.m. start, followed by the women's race at 10:15 a.m. at E. P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky.

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