The William Penn cross country teams struggled against intense heat as it began its season at the 20th Annual Mount Mercy Mustang Gallop Friday.
The men placed fifth out of seven teams with 111 points, while Iowa Central Community College won the crown with 27 points. The women did not have enough competitors to field a squad, while Mount Mercy topped the women’s standings with 42 points.
Dylan Eigenberger of Iowa Central crossed the line first in the 5K men’s race with a time of 16:27.
Lauren Roberts, also of Iowa Central, earned the win in the 4K women’s competition in 16:22.
Temperatures reached 96 degrees at Jones Park, which will also serve as the host site for the Midwest Collegiate Conference Championships in November.
Saromo Mugisha paced the Statesmen in his William Penn debut by placing 20th out of 72 runners with a time of 18:09.
Deane Wichelt was next, placing 29th at 18:35, while Blake Washington was 35th at 18:46.
Nick Thomas, in 38th at 18:55, and Carlos Lizama, in 45th at 19:21, rounded out the varsity scoring.
Dustin Ewalt led the "also-rans" with a time of 19:21 (46th). Jeremy Mooney (53rd, 19:56), Quintin Marshall (58th, 20:28), and Stepfon Williams (60th, 20:37) hit the course for William Penn as well.
“The men started the race well, but the weather got to us and we under-performed,” Coach Cody Ingold said.
Rosemary Bailey topped the women in 19th place (47 runners) with a time of 18:01. Lilly Walters then finished 34th at 19:39 with Sade Myers crossing in 42nd (20:51). Janet Kuskie wrapped up William Penn’s team in 47th at 30:31.
“Our women ran really tentatively today,” Ingold said. “As was the case with the men, we beat ourselves mentally before the race even started.”
“We need to get tougher; thankfully today was not the conference meet,” Ingold added. “We have a lot of work to do, but just have to put today behind us and continue to work hard.”
William Penn travels to Sioux Falls, S.D., next Friday for the Augustana Twilight.