Fresh faces and fast paces led the John Carroll University cross country team this past weekend as the squad kicked off its 2014 campaign at 35th National Catholic Championships on Friday, Sept. 19 in South Bend, Indiana.
Three freshmen finished in the top 55 out of the total 183 participants, with Elliot Thorkelson turning in JCU’s best finish of the day at 15th overall and a time of 26:18.17.
“My veteran teammates were a huge help,” said Thorkelson. “I had told junior Matt Chojnacki I was nervous… He told me to relax and that gave me the confidence I could run a fast 8k.”
Fellow rookies Matt Andrews (28th, 26:44.69) and Mike Kozlowski (54th, 27:43.78) also cracked the top 55.
Returning runners Chojnacki (34th, 26:50.07) and sophomore Steve Frandanisa (50th, 27:30.70) gave the Blue Streaks four top 55 runners in total and contributed to JCU’s seventh place finish out of 24 teams overall, and third among Division III colleges.
“We have set an attitude of success for everything that we do,” said Chojnacki. “We work hard in practice every day, and the freshmen understand the mentality that the upperclassmen try to exemplify.”