Tabor’s Joel Allen and Brielle Lund represented the Bluejays’ cross-country program at nationals Saturday in Fort Vancouver, Wash.
They each placed in the top 100 out of over 300 runners.
“I think both of them ran a good race,” coach Dan Swaney said.
“They both felt the size of the races (320 finishers for the women and 309 for the men), especially since the talent level was a lot deeper than any other race we go to, made it difficult to navigate the course in the early stages because it was so congested.”
Allen placed 95th in the men’s race with a time of 26 minutes, 5 seconds. The finish was 12 seconds slower than his time last year, due in part to rainy, muddy conditions. But Allen placed 24 spots higher.
“Joel got out pretty well and was just a little slow at the mile mark, but given the conditions I wasn’t worried about it,” Swaney said. “He slowly moved up throughout the race and caught a lot of guys who had gone out too fast.”
Lund finished in 81st place in the women’s race, an improvement of 107 places from last season, and ran 46 seconds faster, with a time of 19:15.
Swaney said Lund had a strong start, running in 60th place at the end of the first mile, but fell off the pace in the last two miles.
“Despite slowing down some after the first mile,” Swaney said, “she did a good job of catching and passing other women and had a strong finish.”
Allen and Lund have the chance to place among the top 30 next year and earn All-American honors at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Swaney said.
“But,” he added, “they will have to continue to make significant improvement.”
Allen and Lund both received all-conference honors this season for their performance at the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference meet.