Cross Country takes home SCAC Championship and various individual awards

Senior Jordan Juran leads women to first place finish with her nationally recognized time

Members+of+the+women%27s+cross+country+team+hold+the+SCAC+Championship+trophy.+This+was+the+Tigers%27+fifth+SCAC+team+title.

Photo provided by the Trinity Department of Athletics

Members of the women’s cross country team hold the SCAC Championship trophy. This was the Tigers’ fifth SCAC team title.

At the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championships in Dallas last week, the women’s cross country team finished in first place to earn their fifth SCAC title while the men came in second place behind Colorado College. For the Tigers, this was their second and final cross country meet of the season.

Senior Jordan Juran’s time of 21:48.1 led the way for the Tigers and earned Juran the individual championship along with her fourth All-SCAC performance. Juran later got named the National Runner of Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

“I enjoyed every minute of the race. I don’t think I’ve ever done that… normally, it’s trying to hype myself into running fast and staying in the moment. For this one, it was different. I kept thinking about how grateful I was to be able to have one last cross country race with my team,” Juran said. “It was a truly incredible way to finish off my senior cross country season. I really could not have asked for anything more.”

Cross country, like all other fall sports, was put on hold last semester because of COVID-19. While the team was able to practice and continue working throughout the fall, their competitive season was canceled.

Since then, Trinity and the SCAC have implemented safety measures and guidelines to try and keep students safe. The guidelines include consistent testing for athletes and limited interactions among people outside of their own households.

Now, all 18 of Trinity’s teams — including those who normally compete in the fall — are competing in the spring, albeit with altered and mostly shortened schedules. For the cross country team, their shortened schedule featured just two meets.

“The team’s energy was steadily growing since October/November when we were told of the meet. We all knew how much work we put in throughout the summer and first semester, so I think we were all excited to return for a real race. At the same time, though, we were all a little nervous,” sophomore Ben Whittemore said. “Sometimes when you don’t race for a while, it feels as if you lose your ability to be comfortable being uncomfortable, but Coach [Emily] Daum and Coach [Lauren] Loeffler both reminded us to trust our training and leave it all on the course.”

The Tigers swept the top spots behind Juran, with senior Abby Blackwood and first-year Ellie Catron finishing in second and third place, respectively. Blackwood earned the title of SCAC Newcomer of the Year for her performance.

“It was a big honor winning Newcomer of the Year, and I feel extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to run with my team at SCAC and be considered for the award, especially as a senior,” Blackwood said. “There is no way I would have been able to succeed without the support and encouragement of my team, coaches and family.”

As for the men’s team, they came in a very close second place, with Whittemore crossing the finish line a mere half-second behind Colorado College runner Josh Fry.

“It was a relief to have improved so much from last year’s SCAC meet… but getting second definitely leaves a sour taste in my mouth,” Whittemore said. “I will use this as motivation for the future. I was happy to see how well my teammates ran and really appreciated being able to race with them again, especially the seniors.”

Senior Keaton Holt earned his second straight SCAC Elite 19 Award. This award, according to the SCAC, is “meant to recognize the best of the best within each conference sponsored-sport as it relates to both academic and athletic achievement.”

“I think it will be something I am proud of for the rest of my life,” Holt said. “I feel like it is perfectly suited to the two areas I have worked the hardest on at Trinity. I hope my winning it again shows the current freshmen and anyone considering coming to Trinity that it’s possible to succeed in both academics and athletics.”

While the cross country team is used to competing in several meets across a four month season, according to Holt, just getting to run at all this year meant the world to him.

“I felt so fortunate to be able to run a cross country race again. Since the fall season was canceled at the end of last summer, I had pretty much lost all hope of us having any cross country races. It really was only when we got on the bus to drive up to Dallas last weekend that I could fully believe it was happening,” Holt said.