LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Career bests helped highlight Saturday's action for the Bradley men's and women's cross country teams at the 11th annual Greater Louisville Classic. One of the largest cross country meets in the nation this season, the BU women's team finished 18th of 31 teams in the women's 5K Gold Race, while the men's team was 28th of 31 in the 8K men's Gold Race.
Junior Cassie Lohmeier (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria) finished 67th to pace the Bradley women, missing a career-best 5K time by five seconds, while sophomore Eric Delvo (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin) led the men's squad with a career-best 8K effort of 25:46.81 to finish 150th.
Held at E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park, which will serve as site for the 2012 NCAA Division I National Championship later this fall, the Greater Louisville Classic drew teams from 115 colleges and universities representing 24 different states. The field included four men's teams ranked or receiving votes in the national poll, along with 10 women's squads ranked or receiving votes.
"We competed hard today on both sides," said Bradley head coach Marc Burns. "Our women ran very well in each of the three races. Our front seven looked tough in the gold race. (Cassie) Lohmeier and (Sarah) McMahon were solid and it was good to see (Emily) Delvo close the gap on them today. Our 4-6 all ran significantly faster than they did two weeks ago. We are making progress and that is exciting as we move closer to the championship portion of the season."
Lohmeier was one of three Braves to finish in the top 100 on the women's side, placing 67th overall with a time of 17:47.10. She was followed by sophomore Sarah McMahon (Colfax, Wis./Colfax) in 72nd at 17:50.21 and sophomore Emily Delvo (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart Griffin), who clocked a career-best 17:59.85 to finish 93rd.
In addition to Emily Delvo's career-best time, four freshmen turned in season-best 5K times led by Liz Smits (McFarland, Wis./McFarland). Smits was 140th overall at 18:16.68, beating out fellow freshman Caitlin Busch (Waterloo, Ill./Freeburg), who was 144th with a season-best time of 18:18.34. Freshman Lauren Houmes (Hoopeston, Ill./Hoopeston) was close behind with a season-best effort of 18:24.38 to finish 159th and frosh Rachel Sudbury (Tomahawk, Wis./Tomahawk) also clocked a season-best time (18:50.40) to finish 192nd.
Eric Delvo shaved seven seconds off his career-best 8K time to lead the men's squad, placing 150th with a time of 25:46.81. Junior Daniel Allen (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) finished on Delvo's heels with a career-best 25:50.43 to finish 154th and freshman Cole Dill (Tremont, Ill./Tremont) was 166th overall, crossing the line at 25:58.83.
"Our men got out in good position in the gold race, but were not able to capitalize in the middle of the race," added Burns. "This type of race will help us be better at the end of the year. We can see the team developing and need to continue to learn as much as possible from each race. This is still the beginning phase of our journey on the men's side and we have a long way to go. We will get there one race at a time."
Senior Jon Richards (Streator, Ill./Streator) finished with a time of 26:31.17 (207th) and freshman Michael Kouri (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame) was close behind in 213th at 26:36.65 to round out the scoring for the Bradley men.
The women's team was 18th in the 31-team field in the Gold race with 487 points, finishing 14 points behind 17th-place Eastern Kentucky and 20 back of 16th-place Missouri (467). On the men's side, Bradley was 28th in the Gold race with 792 points, beating 29th-place Mercer by 18 points and finishing 53 points better than 30th-place Mississippi.
In the Women's 5K Blue race, sophomore Kyela Specht (Muster, Ind./Munster) helped pace Bradley to a 14th place finish in a field of 43 teams. Specht was 87th overall with a time of 19:08.98. In the women's Silver race, two of BU's four participants clocked season-best times, led by freshman Arden Betzer (Central City, Iowa/Central City), who finished third with a season-best 5K of 19:16.04.
Freshman Nick Kirk (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) led the Bradley men in the Blue race, clocking a season-best 8K time of 26:25.78 to finish 102nd.
Both the Bradley men's and women's cross country teams will be back in action Friday, October 12th, hosting the Bradley Classic at Newman Golf Course.