WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue men’s and women’s cross country teams opened their respective seasons on Friday, hosting the annual Great American Legends race at the Purdue Varsity Cross Country Course. Purdue senior Kristin Phillips and junior Caden Shields were the Boilermakers’ top women’s and men’s finishers, respectively.
"This is a good start for us," said Purdue head coach Jack Warner. "Several of our athletes posted good times and we competed well as a team."
On the women’s side, Butler’s Katie Clark turned in the top performance of the 5K race, crossing the finish line in 18:03.27. However, the Boilermakers accounted for seven of the next eight finishers as Phillips turned in a time of 18:35.08, while freshman Camille Buscomb followed in 18:46.55. Sophomore Stephanie Bonk, senior Sarah Klaczynski, second-years Katie Conrad and Kara Conflenti, and rookie Kelly McCurdy crossed the line in succession, all within 42 seconds of each other.
Bonk was the first of the pack, posting a time of 19:02.06, more than 12 seconds faster than her 5K performance at the same meet a year ago. Klaczynski made a huge improvement from the 2008 Great American Legends race, axing nearly 20 seconds from her time down to 19:17.13.
Shields was the second overall finisher in the men’s 8K race, coming in behind Butler’s Andy Baker, who completed the course in 25:16.50. Shields’ time of 25:28.60 was his best 8K performance wearing the Old Gold and Black, improving upon his only 8K effort in 2008.
Sophomore Cale Allen was the next Boilermaker across the line, posting a time of 26:09.58 to hack almost 30 seconds off his 2008 season-opening performance, while rookie Corey Scott announced his presence as the third Purdue finisher in a time of 26:42.08. Freshmen Robert Stewart, Stephen Schulz and Steven Stoot were the next three to cross the line, finishing within three and a half second of each other near the 27:20.00-mark.
"We’ll continue to build off of this race," said Warner. "The teams were both training hard going into this race and will continue to bunch together in packs toward the front of races."
Purdue is scheduled to continue its season next Saturday in Bloomington, Ind., at the Indiana University Invitational.