Cross country up and running

Dakota Ratley

The men’s cross country team started its season Saturday at the Tulsa Hurricane Festival.

The team that was picked to finish fifth in the Sun Belt’s preseason polls showed what they were capable of at the festival. Dusan Makevic recorded a fourth-place finish at the event that featured nationally ranked teams like No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 13 Arkansas, No. 18 Tulsa and No. 28 Oklahoma. Wichita State also competed.

The result may have even surprised head coach Karoly Varga.

“I have no high expectation for this meet because we are training through, so obviously conference is the main goal,” he said before the meet.

The Warhawks built momentum at the end of last season. They finished first in Louisiana in the 2013 NCAA Regional Championships. To finish first, they had to top the teams of UL-Lafayette, LA Tech, Tulane, LSU, Southeastern Louisiana and New Orleans.

Placing high in the first meet could also set the pace for the rest of the season. Overall, four Warhawks placed in the top 40. Duasan Makevic placed fourth, Vinnie Van Puyvelde placed 33rd, James Turner placed 39th and Brent Turner rounded the list out with a 40th place finish.

Senior Hillary Kirwa said that he thought the team would start out stronger this year.

“This year people are more in good shape at the start of season, better than last year,” Kirwa said.

The team’s next meet will be at the 2014 Azalea City CC Classic in Mobile, Alabama, on Sept. 12. That meet will be for both the men and women’s teams. The Mook 5 in Ruston, Louisiana, will follow that. The men will then travel to the Chile Pepper Festival followed by the women travelling to the NSU Pre-Conference. The teams will then join together again for the Crimson Classic before starting the Sun Belt Championships.