Wright State’s Nathan Dunn didn’t have a set strategy going into the Horizon League cross country championships on Saturday — unless you call running as hard as you can nonstop over an 8K race a strategy.
That’s essentially what he did in nearly winning the title in Highland Heights, Ky., coming in second in a photo finish to Oakland’s Connor Goetz. Dunn shattered the school record with a time of 24:07, while Goetz finished in 24:06.7.
“I went after whoever pushed the pace, just to make sure I could hold on,” Dunn said. “Some guys started to drop off as the pace increased. I found I was hanging onto one other guy. And we just battled it out to the end.”
The senior from Covington came close last year, finishing fifth, but Goetz was the winner of the 3000-meter run at the league indoor track meet last winter, meaning he probably had a speed advantage over the finishing kick.
“The last 200 (meters) was when we really went to a full sprint,” Dunn said. “We traded places back and forth. It was pretty even to that point. But I started to tie up a little bit, and he just got me at the end.”
Coach Rick Williamson stationed himself a half-mile from the finish to exhort his runners as they passed. He watched the conclusion on video.
“His body just didn’t work anymore. Sometimes with lactic acid, your knees just don’t lift up. You kind of struggle the last couple steps,” he said. “He looked like he had a half-step (lead), but then his legs just stopped working. And the guy got him right at the end.”
Dunn had just set the school record for an 8K race (4.97 miles) at 24:20 two weeks earlier. And his finish was the highest by a Raider since Dan Shafer also was second in 2013.
He’s the program’s first four-time all-league performer (two first-team honors and two second team).
“It’s sad losing, but you have to keep it in perspective,” Dunn said. “All through these four years, I never would have imagined (being so successful). You can’t beat yourself up. You can only be happy about it.”
Shelby Nolan also ran an inspired race, finishing second by nine seconds to Oakland’s Maggie Schneider, who won for the third straight year. Nolan beat the 2016 champion, Oakland’s Rachel Levy.
The senior from Whitehouse, Ohio, set a program record for a 6K race (3.73 miles) at 19:54 — 22 seconds faster than the previous mark she set two weeks ago.
“Shelby got beat by one of the top two or three Horizon League runners ever,” Williamson said. “To only get beat by nine seconds by Maggie is an amazing accomplishment.”
Nolan’s showing was the best for a Wright State woman since Jessica Kuhr finished second in 2001, one year after winning the individual title.
The Raider women finished fourth overall, the men fifth.
“I don’t think both teams could have run better,” Williamson said. “A couple of kids had rough days, but the majority ran really, really well. They were awesome.”
VOLLEYBALL: Raiders (21-4) are in second place in the league at 10-3, a half-game behind Milwaukee with three matches left. They host UIC on Senior Night on Friday.
Sophomore Jenna Story, who already has set a program single-season record for digs, was named league defensive player of the week again Monday, while senior Taylor Gibson earned offensive honors. Story has won six of the 10 weekly awards this season.
WOMEN’S SOCCER: Senior Jordyne Helinski (six goals, five assists) and junior Destiny Johnson (nine goals, two assists) were named first-team all-league for the Raiders, who finished 10-6-2 after losing in the conference quarterfinals Monday.
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