Category Archives: Cross Country

Extra notes from Tuesday’s cross country story

Cross country reporter Emily Patton’s point of view on Tuesday’s sports front story about freshman runner Lucas Somers:

I was just like everyone else who noticed their shaved heads. I wanted to know why.

After talking with some of the men’s cross country team, I learned that a freshman, 18 year-old Lucas Somers, had been diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer a few weeks ago.

On one of the guys’ daily trips to the hospital to see Lucas, I tagged along. 10 members of the team piled into his small hospital room. Eight of them were newly bald.

The guys had Lucas laughing and joking as they rubbed each other’s heads while watching The Office. Even when a nurse came in to check his vitals and the reminder of his condition resurfaced, the team immediately came to the conclusion the nurses all had a crush on him.

The idea is to take his mind off of things and get him smiling and laughing again, said freshman Landon Taylor.

After an hour of socializing, senior Patrick Jenkins quieted the team and began to lead a Bible study. The team discussed their faith and what pride means to them, then prayed for Lucas.

Lucas said the team’s shaved heads let him know he won’t be going through this alone.

“You grow to love your teammates like family and would do anything for them,” Jenkins said.

Starting last Saturday, Lucas will have 16 days out of the hospital before he goes back for another round of chemotherapy. He said the chemo treatment takes so much out of him. Each day he is exhausted, but then can only sleep a few hours a night.

He said the doctors have told him to eat six times a day. Though he would eat about nine times a day when he was healthy, he said eating even three times a day is difficult for him now. But if he does not eat, he just gets sick.

“I just have to stay positive, because I know as soon as I get out of here I can start running again,” Lucas said, “I can’t spend my time being scared. I know I’m going to make it through this.”

When I visited Lucas the next day to sit and talk one-on-one, he was still smiling over the team’s visit. He said he was shocked that they would be so supportive through this situation.

“I have known the guys for two months,” Lucas said, “It was like no questions asked.  They have been here every day since I have been here.”

-Emily Patton
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Cheptoek qualifies for NCAA Championship

Cross country beat writer Emily Patton just found out via Head Coach Erik Jenkins that senior Patrick Cheptoek will be able to compete in the NCAA Championship thanks to an at-large bid.

Cheptoek finished 12th in the men’s 10,000-meter race at the NCAA Southeast Regional on Saturday. Only the top four runners automatically qualify for the championship race, held in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 23.

We’ll have more on Cheptoek in Friday’s Herald.

-Sarah Hyman

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Cross country Pre-Nationals results

The men’s and women’s teams competed in the Indiana State University Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind. on Saturday.
On the women’s side, Janet Jesang finished 5th out of 249 runners from teams across the nation. In the 6,000-meter race, Jesang ran a 20:34 and was within 36 seconds of the winner, Jenny Barringer of Colorado. The women’s team finished 21st of 37 teams in the Blue Invitational.
For the men’s team, Patrick Cheptoek finished 47th out of 238 runners, completing the 5-mile course in 24:41. His first three miles were completed in 15:11. The team finished 32nd out of 34 teams in the Blue Invitational, missing three top runners in sophomore Kyle Chettleburgh, freshman Sabastian Rhode and senior Mark Bowers.
The race was a preview of the course the teams will run on in the NCAA Championship on Nov. 23.

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Jesang named Sun Belt Runner of the Week

Senior Janet Jesang, who has set course records in both of the Lady Toppers’ meets this season, earned her second straight Sun Belt Conference performer of the week award, the league announced today.

Jesang is one of only two women to ever run the 5,000-meters in under 17 seconds at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park, winning this year’s Greater Louisville Classic in 16 minutes, 47 seconds. She tied the course record in last year’s event.

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Cross country teams have strong showing in Louisville

The men and women cross-country teams competed in the Greater Louisville
Classic today.
For the Lady Tops, Janet Jesang won the race a 16:47 setting a new
course record defeating over 300 runners.
Marion Kandie finished 4th overall with a time of 17:21.
“Janet did an outstanding job coming out and running against quality
nationally ranked athletes,” head coach Erick Jenkins said, “Those two
ladies coming to a meet of this caliber and finishing in the top 5 is a
tremendous move for our program, and we are extremely excited about the
possibilities down the road. We have to stay healthy, and stay humble
and keep working.”
Purdue won the race (88 points), followed by Kentucky second (130
points), Louisville third (141 points), and Western Kentucky tied with
Missouri for fourth (173 points).
In men’s action, Patrick Cheptoek finished 16th with a time of 24:27 out
of more than 300 runners.
“Patrick did another fine job. The men ran very well. We are a young
team continuing to improve,” Jenkins said.
The teams compete next in the Indiana State University Pre-Nationals on
October 17th.
-Emily Patton

The men and women cross-country teams competed in the Greater Louisville Classic today.

For the Lady Tops, senior Janet Jesang won the race in 16:47, setting a new course record and defeating over 300 runners.

Junior Marion Kandie finished 4th overall with a time of 17:21.

“Janet did an outstanding job coming out and running against quality nationally ranked-athletes,” head coach Erick Jenkins said. “Those two ladies coming to a meet of this caliber and finishing in the top 5 is a tremendous move for our program, and we are extremely excited about the possibilities down the road. We have to stay healthy and stay humble and keep working.”

Purdue won the race (88 points), followed by Kentucky second (130 points) and Louisville third (141 points). Western tied with Missouri for fourth with 173 points.

In the men’s race, senior Patrick Cheptoek finished 16th with a time of 24:27 out of more than 300 runners.

“Patrick did another fine job,” Jenkins said. “The men ran very well. We are a young team continuing to improve.”

The teams compete next in the Indiana State University Pre-Nationals on October 17th in Terre Haute, Ind.

-Emily Patton

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Finn cleared to race for Western

There’s a story in today’s Herald about sophomore Michelle Finn, who transferred from the University of Limerick in Ireland to compete for the cross country team.

As of press time yesterday, Finn was still awaiting NCAA approval of her academic transcripts, meaning she had to race unaffiliated in the season-opening Old Timers’ Classic on Sept. 19. Though Finn finished 12th in the event, the Lady Toppers finished second by one point because her results couldn’t be contributed to the team’s final score.

A few hours after we sent the paper to press, assistant coach Michelle Scott told the Herald that Finn had received word that she is now NCAA-eligible and can compete for Western at Saturday’s Greater Louisville Classic.

The Herald story also focuses on other challenges Finn faces as a new resident of the United States, but luckily for the Lady Toppers, the issue of her eligibility is no longer a problem.

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Women’s cross country team achieves highest-ever ranking

The Lady Toppers are ranked no. 8 in the Southeast Regional by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the first top-10 ranking in program history.

Western was ranked no. 13 in the regional in the preseason poll.

The Lady Toppers are ranked behind Virginia (ranked no. 19 nationally), Duke (no. 29), North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Louisville, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Richmond and William & Mary round out the top 10.

The cross country team will compete at the Greater Louisville Classic all day Saturday at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park. Check back Saturday afternoon for a recap of the event.

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