LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Purdue women’s cross country team made a serious statement on Saturday, topping an impressive field to win the eighth-annual Greater Louisville Classic, hosted by the University of Louisville at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park. The Boilermaker women totaled just 88 team points in victory, while the Purdue men finished 10th overall with 288 points.
Purdue dominated a women’s race loaded with regionally ranked talents, including the host Cardinals and the University of Kentucky, ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Southeast region. The Boilermakers’ 88 points were 42 better than second-place Kentucky (130 points) and 53 fewer than third-place Louisville (141 points).
“I’m really pleased with the ladies performance,” said Purdue head coach Jack Warner. “They’re buying in to our training and strategy and it’s starting to show. The team’s confidence is at a new level, which they’ll need at the conference level and this is another step towards our goals of success at the Big Ten Championships.”
Freshman Camille Buscomb was the Boilermakers’ top finisher for the second straight race and continued knocking on the door of the all-time top-10 5K times, completing the course fifth individually in 17:23.56. Senior Kristin Phillips cracked the 18-minute barrier for the first time this season, finishing 10th overall in 17:41.84, while sophomores Stephanie Bonk and Katie Conrad, and senior Sarah Klaczynski all ran stellar times to round out the top five. Bonk just missed her career best, finishing 23rd with a time of 18:09.07, while Conrad smashed her personal record for 5K, crossing the line 26th in 18:12.04.
Klaczynski notched a career best for the second straight week, trimming two seconds off her top 5K mark to 18:12.21, good for 27th. Freshman Alice Feslier Holmes debuted in impressive fashion, finishing 31st in 18:16.79, while classmate Kelly McCurdy improved for the third straight race, earning 36th overall in 18:18.42. Sophomore Kara Conflenti took a minute off her career best as well, posting a time of 18:42.41 to complete the Purdue field.
The Purdue men’s effort included seven season bests and five career bests for 8K, including junior Caden Shields’ 20th-place individual showing in 24:34.81. In just the third race of the season, Shields is only 32 seconds away from earning a spot on Purdue’s all-time top-10 for 8K, despite missing nearly a week of training due to illness last week.
Sophomore Cale Allen was the next Boilermaker across the line, knifing over 52 seconds off his season best with a time of 25:17.05, while classmate Simon Rogers improved by more than 32 seconds at 25:25.65. Fellow sophomores Ladd Mercer and Dominic DeSantis capped the Boilermakers’ scoring as Mercer turned in a career-best 25:34.92, while DeSantis’ mark of 25:39.62 is over a minute faster than his season best. Freshmen Stephen Schulz and Robert Stewart improved their career bests to 25:44.11 and 25:44.88, respectively, and sophomore Charles White capped the group with a 26:11.82 effort.
“The men had a solid race, recovering from a little sickness and not being able to train consistently as a result,” said Warner. “They’re continuing to improve and know that they still have a lot of work to do to take it to the next level. We’re excited about some of our individual performances, and like the women, the guys are continuing to prepare for the conference meet.”
The Boilermakers return to Terre Haute, Ind., next weekend for their second race of the season on Indiana State’s NCAA Championship course as DePauw University and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology host the Gibson Family Collegiate Invitational.