Aug. 31, 2012
VALPARAISO, Ind. - The Purdue men’s and women’s cross country teams started the year off with a bang as both teams took the first place in the season-opening Crusader Open.
“Both teams did exceedingly well,” head coach Lonnie Greene said after the meet. “It was a great opener. Our teams stayed together and execute really well. It was a good start for a young group.”
The Boilermakers had 32 harriers in action at Friday’s meet including 22 that made their Purdue debut. That didn’t stop either team from knocking off Valparaiso, Purdue-Calumet, and nationally ranked Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are the 25th best team on the men’s side and 22nd for the women.
“When you beat a nationally ranked team like Notre Dame, that is something really special for a young group,” said Greene. “Our teams ran strong and stay composed. Samantha Walkow did an unbelievable job. Notre Dame showed the last 300 meters, but she and the other young ladies closed it out.”
Walkow took first place overall in her first ever race for Purdue and was one of just two runners to finish the 5k in under 18 minutes. Walkow finished in 17:46.1, just 2.2 seconds ahead of Meg Ryan from Notre Dame. Dana Payonk and Autumn Beachy ran nearly an identical race as the two finished fourth and fifth, respectively, just hundredths of a second apart. Both runners finished with a posted time of 18:15.1.
Blair Doney and Linsey Daluga, two of the more experience Boilermakers, were next to cross the finish line for Purdue. Doney finished eighth overall with a time of 18:23.1 while Daluga came in right behind her, crossing the line in 18:24.9 for ninth place. Two freshmen closed out the scoring for Boilermakers as Sharise Lund finished 11th and Laura Maibuecher finished 13th in their first collegiate race. All of Purdue’s top seven finished in under 19 minutes, aiding the team to 27 overall place points and the first place finish. Notre Dame finished second with a score of 33 while Western Michigan took third with a score of 89. Valparaiso finished fourth with 107 while Purdue-Calumet was fifth with 149.
“We ran the race that we wanted to,” assistant coach Dave Hartman said. “Some of our freshmen got their first taste of collegiate racing. We did a nice job of getting out in front of the pack, but staying poised, controlled, and seasoned. Walkow showed great composure down the stretch. Notre Dame closed the gap, but Sam did a great job and finished it off in the end. I was also very pleased with our freshmen and the abilities that they showed.”
On the men’s side, it was a story of the freshmen. Matthew McClintock showed why he was named a Foot Locker All-American in his final year of high school. The Athens, Maine, native took the top spot in his first collegiate race as he finished with a time of 18:54.8 in the 6k. Classmate Johnnie Guy was the only other harrier to break the 19 minute mark in the race. The Boilermaker freshman was just 2.5 seconds back as he took second place with a time of 18:57.3.
“For the men, all I can say is ‘wow,’” Greene said after the meet. “They did exactly as Coach Hartman wanted them to. Those two guys for us sat back and made a great move with 2k to go. They created a degree of separation that was very noticeable. They closed out and won the race by 350 meters. I am very proud of them.”
Notre Dame didn’t make it easy for the Boilermakers. The No. 25 team in the country took the third, fourth and fifth place spots. Andy Mack and Caleb Kerr were able to take sixth and seventh for Purdue with times of 19:37.8 and 19:42.0, respectively. Again, the Fighting Irish continued to make it tough as they took eighth through 10th place. However, Tate Schienbein took 11th for Purdue as the freshman finished in 20:09.2. Tyler Wynn finished out the scoring for Purdue as he finished in 13th with a time of 20:12.3 to close out Notre Dame and give Purdue the top spot.
“I don’t think I could have ever imagined that we would go 1-2 in the first race of the season,” Hartman said. “Our guys are very talented, but I didn’t expect it this early. They ran very controlled and looked like seasoned veterans. It was a nice, solid opener for the season.”
Purdue finished first with a team score of 27. Notre Dame was just behind as the Irish had a score of 29. Valparaiso was third with 85 while Purdue-Calumet did not officially place since they only raced four individuals.