By Brodee Gillam
The odds were already against the Stars cross country squads.
It was the day of the women's first, and only, 6K race and the men's first 8K of the season.
Mother Nature decided to make the race more difficult. Most runners seem to enjoy a low-70s to mid-60s temperature for running in the fall. But for the Spartan Invitational on Sept. 15, the temperature was around 80 degrees, adding even more fatigue to the races.
Despite all of the adversity, LCC Head Coach Jim Robinson said both teams did exceptionally well at the meet.
"Historically, because it's early in the season and it has been hot over the past few years … we haven't put up great times in past years," Robinson said. "But we had several, what I would call, stellar times for this early in the season, given where we are in our training."
Freshman Alex McCormick was the first Star to finish for the men, placing 51st with a time of 26:38.
LCC's next harriers to finish were sophomore Blake Watson, sophomore Shawn Bell and freshman Jacob Ferguson, whose times were 26:43, 27:28 and 27:52, respectively.
Bell said with this being the first 8K of the season, it took a little more out of the freshmen, but they adjusted well and gained great experience.
"(The race was) definitely a good learning curve," Bell said. "Especially for the freshmen coming in, being their first 8K and regulating how fast to go out and not to burn (energy) because you still have four more miles."
Sophomore Kirsten McGahan placed first, and 58th overall, for LCC for the second straight race, finishing at 23:36. Fellow sophomore Ashley Lindeman followed as the second finisher for the Stars, 71st overall, at 24:05.
Lindeman said the experience was great for all of the women, showing that even next to Division I athletes, they can still hold their own.
"I thought it was really cool to seeing myself and a lot of our girls next to Michigan State and Western girls," Lindeman said. "That is just kind of uplifting to know that, even though we go to a community college and they're looked at as a lower class, we're still able to run with them."
The Stars next meet is scheduled to be on Saturday, Sept. 30. The Louisville Classic is set to be at Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, Ky.