By: Matt Merkel
Franciscan University of Steubenville’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams are traveling to Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana this weekend to run in the cross-country National Catholic Championship.
This is one of the biggest meets of the year for the Barons who are looking forward to scouting Division III opponents and competing against Division II and Division I runners.
Head coach Daniel Kuebler is excited to have both his male and female runners compete against some Division III rivals.
“Our goal this year is to win our conference meet” Kuebler said. “This weekend gives us a great opportunity because we face some of the best competition that Division I, II, and III have to offer. When we run against great competition, we get better.”
Kuebler also spoke about senior Bill Jones’s brilliance on the course.
“The men run a five mile race. Last year he ran it in 25:10; his best is 24:40. Jones is one of the top five runners in Division III,” Kuebler said. “This weekend, he should be second or third. He is one of the guys that will be in the front of the pack.”
This is Jones’s fourth year running at the National Catholic Championship. After finishing in thirteenth place last year, he is prepared to finish in the top five.
“I am going for the win” Jones said. “I can definitely get top five. I’m in much better shape this weekend. This is the last time I am running this race and I want to make a strong stand.”
Jones commented about his excitement to run against grueling competition this weekend as well. “We only get to race these Division I schools once. I like racing against them because they are so competitive…they get paid to run. It gets me excited. The stiff competition helps me. They push me a little harder.”
Jones attributed his cross-country success to God, “I went to Franciscan for a reason. It’s the best school for me. We give our talent back to God. We all run for the glory of God. It is an honor and a blessing to be a part of that.”
Lady Baron Nicole Krajewski is the star women’s cross-country runner. This will be her third race at Notre Dame. She commented on their strong team this year and is excited to run with them.
“I’m trying to run and clock a great time,” Krajewski said, “But as a team, we are focused on being there for each other. We all love it when we do are best; both personally and for each other. Everyone is excited when we clock good times.”
Other Baron runners qualified to compete at Notre Dame are Jack Kaiser, Joey Schlueter, Patrick Flanagan, Michael Gotta, Michael Mclaughlin, David Willems, John Redmond, Marcus Flute, Joseph Radzialowski, and Dillon Clark.
For the Lady Barons, Theresa Evans, Katherine Manion, Jane Crosby, Molly Chambers, Katie Leighton, Teresa Kovach, Madeline Stanley, Kate Porter, Claire Bach, Ashley Wesolowski, Rachel Roggensack, and Jenna Gilman will be competing.
The Barons compete at the National Catholic Championship on September 14th at 2:30pm. Let’s Go Barons!
Editor’s Note: Post-meet results: Bill Jones 2nd place overall with 24:22, a new personal and Franciscan cross-country record. Nicole Krajewski placed 59th overall and 10th in non-Divison I schools.