Rutgers finishes in 12th at Big Ten Championships
The Rutgers men’s cross country team placed 12th overall in the men’s 8k race at the Big Ten Championships this past weekend in Lincoln, Neb. The meet was hosted by Nebraska at Mahoney Gold Course.
Wisconsin secured its 49th Big Ten Championship team title, tallying 38 points while five of its runners finished in the top 20. Purdue placed second with 88 points and Indiana placed third with 108 points.
The Scarlet Knights tallied with a point total of 365. Six of their runners made it into the top 100 out of 105 runners who competed in the field.
“For the Big Ten Championship, it’s a great race. It is the best cross country conference in the country. For five of our guys, this will be the first time racing on this course, so they got a valuable experience for the future,” said head coach Mike Mulqueen.
Junior Cole Pschunder led Rutgers throughout the entire course, placing in 70th and clocking in with a time of 25:15.1.
This was Pschunder's third year competing in the race.
“I thought I performed okay. I wanted to be a little higher up place-wise. I wasn’t that far off top 50, which was my goal,” Pschunder said.
Sophomore Patrick Walsh finished next for the Knights, achieving a new personal record of 25:31.3 and placed 79th overall.
Junior Andrew Comito also recorded a personal best of 26:10.6 during the race, placing 93rd.
“To be in the top group for the team definitely motivates me to do better. This was my best performance at the conference so far and I’m very proud of what I accomplished,” Walsh said.
Senior Conor Murphy (26:13.9), sophomore Genaro Anzalone (26:44.6) and freshman Nick Hutchison (27:00.7) all finished with scores to round out the scoring members of the team.
The two Rutgers' runners who did not score, but made their debuts at the championships, were sophomore Billy Hill (27:30.5) and freshman Will Berger (28:23.4).
Last year during the 2017 Big Ten Championships, the Knights placed 12th overall with a total time of 2:09:43. This year, Rutgers' total time was 2:09:55, a couple seconds slower from 2017. Despite the team’s best efforts to hopefully improve and make a better mark in the conference, half of the team was not in the best state to race that day.
“Some of the guys weren’t feeling great and that happens sometimes. We were so close to Ohio State and if we had a great day, we might've been able to catch Illinois. I mean, some of us caught guys the last half of the race. I think we just went out a little too fast in the beginning and we all paid the price later on,” Pschunder said.
The main goal for the Knights was to stick together throughout most of the race. In the beginning, they would travel in a pack before separating themselves during the last 1 kilometer.
Due to the new runners’ excitement and half of the team unable to perform their best due to seasonal sickness, the team did the best it could.
“Our time gap between our runners is too much. We need to get that time differential lower for the rest of conference season,” Mulqueen said.
With the results of the Big Ten Championships finished, Rutgers will move forward with the rest of its season. Its goal is to be in the top 10-12 in the region and in the top five in the IC4A Championships, scheduled for Nov. 17th in the Bronx, N.Y.
The Knights will take this week and the first week of November to train hard for the NCAA Championships. The meet will be on Nov. 9th and held in State College, Pa.
For updates on the Rutgers men's cross country team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.