Sam Stevenson, The Circuit
Sept. 8 marked an interesting moment in Raven history. It was the date of the first cross country meet hosted by Benedictine College.
Held on the Atchison Golf Club, the meet had an unmistakable feel of Atchison authenticity to it. Corn fields surrounded the area as the competitors lined up under the gray canopy sky. At the sound of the starting gun, the runners took off and proceeded to slog through the muddy conditions brought on by the rains that befell Atchison through the last few days prior to the meet.
Chris Spoerl, Benedictine junior, was at the meet and felt a certain sense of pride about the whole situation.
“It was pretty cool to see I thought,” Spoerl said. “It had that Atchison, country feel to it and it was sort of cool to just kind of show all the other runners from different schools that this is where we come from and I like that kind of stuff.”
Benedictine Cross Country runner John Danner, senior, felt a certain sense of pride as well, but it was brought on by the support from the town of Atchison as well as Benedictine students.
“It was super cool because a lot of the high schools brought their teams out there to watch us,” Danner said. “A lot of people from the community were there, students were there, President Minnis was there and it was really cool to see because a lot of people don’t really get to come to see our meets.”
In spite of the muddy conditions, Garrett Richard, a junior on the Benedictine Cross Country team, found his familiarity with the course to be a strong advantage.
“We did a workout on the worst hill, we previewed the course two days before running on it and that gave us an advantage over the other teams” Richard said.
It is clear that the meet infused a sense of pride for the town of Atchison and Benedictine College while also giving the runners a chance to better understand the course and be well prepared for when the lights come on, so to speak. This only underlines what is really starting to take form.
This year’s cross country team has impressed people within the school and outside of it. The Rocky Raven Invite was the second meet in a row that the team has taken first place in both the men’s and women’s categories.
This meet was a statement for the ever overlooked Benedictine Cross Country team, and for that statement to be made in Atchison was all the sweeter.
“We usually do really well but this year we are really contending for top spot and that really has been surprising the coaches from the other teams so that goes back to the pride and honor to not only be able to host our home meet but really be able to show this is who we are and we are really proud of that,” Richard said.
The next time the Ravens will host a meet in Atchison will be this coming November when they host the Heart of America Athletic Conference championship.
By that time, they hope to have solidified their place among the top teams in the conference.