The Loyola men’s and women’s cross country teams hosted the Loyola Lakefront Invitational on Montrose Beach Saturday afternoon for the first time in six years. The women’s team finished eighth out of 32 schools in the 5K race and the men’s team finished 15th out of 26 in the 8K.
The women’s team was led by redshirt senior Lindsey Brewis, who finished ninth out of the packed 380-runner field with a time of 17:05.67. Sophomore Mimi Reimers was the second Rambler to cross the finish line, clocking in at 17:58.13 — a new personal record.
“As a team, I think we definitely took a step forward from where we were last race,” Loyola assistant coach Alan Peterson said. “There’s still a lot more work to be done before [the Missouri Valley Conference meet] and regionals.”
Senior Kevin White led the way for the men’s team with a time of 25:13.51 to finish 42nd out of 350 runners. Junior Derek Rink recorded a time of 25:35.18 to finish 86th.
“I think we had a great tight pack from [first] to fifth … we had two [first-years] in the top five, that’s another positive thing,” Loyola assistant coach Mircea Bogdan said. “We have a little more room — about 10-20 seconds on each runner — that we can improve on. If that happens, I think we’ll be in a good position come conference.”
The Lakefront Invitational was brought back for the first time since 2012, marking the first time the runners have raced at home. Many Loyola athletic programs came out to support the teams, including men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball.
Brewis said seeing her fellow Ramblers in attendance, along with other familiar faces, helped motivate her as the race got going.
“I was kind of joking that sometimes I can zone out during races, but today there were so many people yelling my name and saying ‘Go Loyola,’” Brewis said. “It brought a very welcome distraction from the pain of the race. It was nice to have that support.”
Some notable schools at the meet included University of Illinois, The Ohio State University and Texas A&M University. Rink said going up against such tough opponents helped improve Loyola’s times because the runners were going up against better competition.
“[The competition] really makes the race honest and that’s why we [had] so many good times here,” Rink said. “We had a bunch of people racing under 26 [minutes], which you don’t see at most races. Most races, you see people going low 25’s, but they really brought the competition and that really dragged our team to have some good times, as well.”
The Ramblers are scheduled to run in the Bradley Pink Classic in Peoria Oct. 12.