SIU runner Krolak records plenty of firsts in Tennessee
Redshirt sophomore Megan Krolak made sure that Southern Illinois University’s (SIU) women’s cross-country team’s season got off on the right foot, claiming first place at the Golden Eagle Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 2 in Cookeville, Tennessee.
Two other Salukis also finished in the top 15 at the opening event of the season. Krolak, who sat out last season after transferring to SIU from Illinois State University, recorded her first win in a collegiate meet and a personal best time of 18:52.
Senior Claire Darnell finished in third place with a time of 19:32, and senior Kelly O’Shea claimed 15th place with a time of 20:29. As a team, SIU took third place, finishing with 54 points, two points behind second-place Auburn. Mississippi State University won the meet with 24 points and had five runners finish in the top 10.
The Salukis men’s team also recorded four top-25 finishes. Cain Hassim, a redshirt sophomore from St. Catharines, Ontario, finished in 15th place with a time of 20:20. Jacob DeWitt came in 20th with a time of 20:29, Jonathan Vera finished in 25th with a time of 20:44, and Hassim’s younger brother, Theo, came in at 26th place with a time of 20:53.
Gilbert Boit of Tennessee Tech won the meet with a time of 18:52. Auburn University took home the combined title, Tennessee Tech finished second and Mississippi State claimed third place.
The SIU men’s and women’s cross country teams will be in action throughout September with meets at Valparaiso in Nashville, Tennessee, and in the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana. In October, the Salukis will take part in a pre-nationals meet hosted by the University of Louisville before heading to the MVC Championships in Springfield, Missouri.
The cross-country season will end in November with the NCAA Midwest Regional meet on Nov. 10, followed by the NCAA Championships on Nov. 18 at the University of Louisville.