Hannah Thomas-Dowling-Missouri, Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton, Grace Gibbons-Dowling/Gilbert-ISU, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley
©Jim Kirby

Luksan Starts Out Season With Another Great Effort

Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley ©Jim Kirby

Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley
©Jim Kirby

The Bradley University cross country teams swept the 30th running of the Bradley Intercollegiate on Friday at Detweiller Park. In addition, junior Hannah Witczak won the women’s individual title – leading a pack of five Braves at the top of the leaderboard – while junior Michael Ward claimed the men’s crown.

Courtesy Braves Athletics, Click Here! Feature photo; former Dowling runners, Hannah Thomas-Dowling-Missouri, Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton, Grace Gibbons-Dowling/Gilbert-ISU, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley taken at Iowa Invite
©Jim Kirby

Witczak finished with a time of 16:48.7 to place first in the women’s three-mile race, shaving nearly a minute off her career-best time to claim her first collegiate title. Witczak finished 12 seconds ahead of senior teammate Lauren Cunningham, who posted a time of 17:00.8.

“Hannah Witczak put in a big performance for us today,” said Bradley head coach Darren Gausen. “To record a perfect score after losing so many key contributors last year is outstanding. It shows how good our depth is and that we are ready to compete at Notre Dame.”

Junior Natalie Burant (17:30.5), sophomore Gabby Juarez (17:30.8) and redshirt freshman Bailey Johnson (17:32.1) rounded out the top five for the Braves as Bradley finished with a perfect score of 15 on the afternoon.  Also performing well for the Braves was Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley.

On the men’s side, Ward picked up where he left off last season, finishing first with a time of 24:30.3. The junior finished more than 17 seconds ahead of second-place Kyle Hauser of Illinois-Chicago to earn his first individual title in cross country.

“Michael Ward put together a fantastic performance for him,” Gausen said. “He was controlled and really excelled after putting in a ton of work during the summer. Illinois-Chicago’s Kyle Hauser put together a strong race and it was good to have a challenge up front. It prevented us from having a perfect score but I thought Patrick Campbell, Caleb Beck and Taylor Floyd Mews were all strong as well today. In addition, Jake Hoffert and Will Anderson had really good performances as well.”

Overall, Bradley claimed six of the top seven finishers to earn the team title on Friday with 19 points. Senior Patrick Campbell placed third with a time of 24:48.0 and was followed by classmate Caleb Beck (24:50.8), junior Taylor Floyd Mews (24:59.6), redshirt freshman Jake Hoffert (25:12.4) and sophomore Will Anderson (25:25.6).

Illinois-Chicago placed second on the women’s side with a score of 67 and was followed by Western Illinois and Arkansas State. The Flames also finished second in the men’s race with 45 total points with Arkansas State and Green Bay placing third and fourth, respectively.

The Braves look to continue their winning ways on Sept. 30, traveling to South Bend, Indiana to compete in the Notre Dame Invitational.