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ND Cross Country: Lesiewicz, Meunier win first races of the year

Alex Wilcox | Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Patrick Lesiewicz and Sydni Meunier entered this past weekend’s Crusader Invitational from very different places. Lesiewicz, a senior on the men’s team, is a cross country veteran with many races under his belt, while Meunier, a sophomore for the women, has run in just four career meets. Both runners, though, ended in the same position: first.

After a third-place finish in her first-ever cross country meet at last year’s Crusader Invitational, Meunier won the 5K this year with a time of 17:57.7. Just the sixth woman to ever win the race for the Irish, Meunier said she was pleased with her performance.

“It was our first [race] of the season and we’ve all just been training really hard over the summer and the first couple weeks we’ve been here,” Meunier said. “Our plan going in was to just stay together, especially through the first [kilometer] and then after that just go off how you feel and bring it home.”

Meunier brought home the win in the individual race and in the overall team category and believes the race will prove to be a useful tool when preparing for upcoming meets.

“I was happy to be able to do a race like that, where I could start out and see where I’m at and where I need to improve these next couple of weeks before we start getting into the bigger meets,” Meunier said.

As for Lesiewicz, Friday was his third time running in the Crusader Invitational, finishing third and fourth before this year’s victory in the 6K. While acknowledging that there will be more important races down the road, he said he was still happy with his run. 

“In terms of conditioning and staying in shape it wasn’t so important, just because I want to be in my best shape for the end of the season, not the beginning,” Lesiewicz said. “But in terms of confidence, winning a race like that is a big confidence booster.”

He said he credits his performance Friday to all the work he’s put in leading up to the race.

“I’ve just been working really hard,” Lesiewicz said. “All summer I’ve been training, and it’s good to see it pay off like that.”

Meunier said she credits her summer training as well, especially since this is only her second season running cross country. Her high school, Gibson City Melvin-Sibley (Ill.), did not field a cross country team during Meunier’s time there. In order to stay competitive with the rest of the runners who have been running all throughout high school, she relies on her teammates.

“I just try to go off my teammates experience and ask them for a lot of advice,” Meunier said. “This team is full of so many great runners so I just go off them and their knowledge and abilities. I worked really hard all summer since this is only my second year running cross country, so I’ve just been working on trying to get mentally tough and get a lot stronger.”

For both Lesiewicz and Meunier, confidence and expectations run high after the team’s strong showing this past weekend. Lesiewicz said he expects himself to continue to improve and help out the team in what he believes could turn out to be a very successful year.

“For the team, we’d like to win our ACC meet, and from there, just do well at regionals and then nationals, and hopefully get into the top ten,” Lesiewicz said. “Individually, if I can make it into the top five, top seven, and get my team a point or two, that would be great.”

Contact Alex Wilcox at [email protected]