The cross country team competed in the Great Lakes Challenge on Oct. 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Megan McDonald's Facebook.

BY GABBY JOSEPH, Staff Writer

The cross country team competed in the Great Lakes Challenge on Oct. 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Megan McDonald's Facebook.
The cross country team competed in the Great Lakes Challenge on Oct. 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Megan McDonald’s Facebook.

The University of Michigan­-Dearborn’s men and women’s cross­ country teams traveled to Aquinas College on Saturday Oct. 24 to take part in the Great Lakes Challenge Invitational. The meet included 25 men’s teams and 26 women’s teams.

The men placed 17th out of 25 after competing in a 8k while the women’s finish position was incomplete after competing in a 5k.

Top performers for the men were sophomore Alex Krasuski, senior Sam Parks, and junior Ryan Pickell. The three all finished their overall place in the top 100. The team certainly works hard at practice and treats each one like it’s a meet. “Our race preparation really comes down to all of the hard work put in during practices throughout the entire season,” Pickell said. “We put all of our effort into each workout and it pays off by the end of the season.”

The team’s score in time was 2:26:39.08 and their average time was 21:33.05. “Our strong finishes allowed each of us to out­sprint other runners, resulting in a close victory over Madonna,” Pickell said.

Top performers for the women were sophomore Emily Eccleton and senior Megan McDonald. Eccleton’s finish time was 22:45.86 while McDonald finished the race in 22:50.76.

The women finished incomplete but they’re heads are high and they’re looking forward. “Going into the conference meet which is our most important race of the year, we all need to be mentally focused,” McDonald said. “If we as an entire team go into this race mentally ready, I’m really excited to see how much we can accomplish.”

The team looks to each other for motivation and they feed off the motivation from one another. “We use each other as motivation to do better for ourselves and for our team,”

McDonald said. “Cross country is an individual sport but it’s also a team sport and we like to focus on the team aspect.”

The men and women both compete next in Grand Rapids for the WHAC Championship on Nov. 7 for their last meet of the year.