MADISON, Wis. - Matthew McClintock and Johnnie Guy each had top 12 finishes as they helped the men's cross country team finish seventh in the Great Lakes Region. The women's team was very consistent and finished ninth.
The Purdue men's team ran its first 10,000-meter race of the season and for most of the runners, it was the first of their career. Only Steven Stoot had competed in a 10k, but that race came on the track during outdoor season. Despite that fact, the Purdue men took their No. 11 ranking in the region and showed how good they could be despite being so young and inexperienced.
McClintock and Guy darted out with the lead pack to start the race and were able to maintain their pace throughout. At the four mile mark in the race, McClintock was in eighth and Guy held steady in 12th place. That's where the two would finish the race in what each called the best race of their lives. McClintock finished with a time of 30:57 while Guy crossed the line in 31:20. McClintock was just one second out of seventh and four seconds out of sixth. Guy finished just one second behind 11th.
After a somewhat disappointing individual performance at the Big Ten Championships two weeks ago, Guy was determined to redeem himself on a bigger stage and try to earn a bid to the NCAA Championships. McClintock secured an individual bid because the top four individuals not part of an automatic qualifying team earn a spot to the national meet. Guy finished fifth among such runners. Though he does not earn an automatic bid, Guy still has a chance at earning an at-large bid.
"I knew that if I didn't advance to NCAAs that today would be my last race of the season," said Guy. "I went out and gave it my all. I knew as I lined up that I would be in contention to be in one of those spots to qualify for NCAAs. Though no one thought that I had a chance, I knew I could do it. With the National Championships in Louisville this year, it gave me extra motivation because I live 30 minutes from there. I went out with Matt and knew he would run a smart race so I wanted to stay with him. In the last 2k, coach let me know I had a chance to qualify and I knew I was next to the guy who would take the fourth spot. We were dead even down the stretch and he beat me to the line.
"I was very disappointed with my Big Ten race and knew I could do a lot better. This may have been my last race of the season so I went out and just tried to do something great. I am happy with my race, but if I don't qualify, it will still be a little disappointing. Even though I finished a lot higher than I was expected to, I just really wanted to earn a spot in nationals and did whatever I could to try to get there."
Andy Mack was third among Purdue runners. Mack ran a time of 32:23 which was good for 53rd. Caleb Kerr was not far behind and finished 60th with a time of 32:29. Allan Appiah rounded out the scoring for the Boilermakers with a 82nd place finish and a time of 32:59.
The men took seventh place with 215 points, just one point behind sixth place Miami. Wisconsin took first with 43 points while Michigan was second with 73. Indiana took third with 107 points. The seventh place finish was a three spot improvement from last year's finish despite running seven different harriers. The Boilermakers were also the only team at the 30-team regional that had all of their scoring from underclassmen.
On the women's side, Kelly McCurdy was the top finisher for the Boilermakers. The senior ran her second best 6,000-meter time of the season with a mark of 21:14. McCurdy finished 35th overall. Samantha Walkow was the second finisher for Purdue. Walkow ran her second best 6k of the season with a time of 21:30, good for 45th place. Dana Payonk was not far behind Walkow and ran a strong second half of the race. Payonk finished in 21:39 and 57th place. The redshirt sophomore's time was her second best 6k of the season.
Blair Doney took fourth place for the Purdue women. The Eagle, Wis., native ran a time of 21:41 in her home state, good for 59th overall. Sharise Lund rounded out the scoring in her first Great Lakes Regional race. Lund ran a time just one second off her best 6k time with a mark of 21:51. Lund finished in 71st place.
The Purdue women were ranked 12th in the region heading into the race and were able to finish ninth. The Boilermakers finished with 267 points. Michigan won the regional with a score of 41. Michigan State was runner-up with 77 points while Notre Dame finished third with 89.
The cross country season came to a close for both Boilermaker teams after Friday's race except for McClintock and possibly Guy. The NCAA Championships are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 17, in Louisville.