Men's Cross Country
September 29, 2014
Cyclones battle heat, fatigue at Augustana
The Cyclones had to not only deal with an outstanding competitive field but also
the heat, and in the end struggled across the finish line in 33rd place out of
38 teams on Sept. 26 at the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational hosted by
Augustana College in Rock Island.
Yousef Khazneh led the way in 173rd place in 27:50 followed by Braulio Castellanos (272nd, 29:02), Anthony Briante (283rd, 29:17), Justin Briante (356th, 30:27), Anton Thauer (363rd, 30:34), Dawid Palac (370th, 30:43), Alejandro Montes (400th, 31:24), Sergio Villareal (430th, 32:20), Larry Byrd (458th, 33:38), and Jesus Rojas (465th, 33:50). There were 532 finishers in the 8K race.
“This was an extremely competitive race and a fast course,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer. “We were looking for an opportunity to see how we stacked up half-way through the season. Unfortunately, I think the hot weather took a toll, especially as the race wore on. It’s not an excuse—it was very hot for everyone, and we didn’t handle it as well as we should have.”
The men head north to West Allis, Wisconsin, on Saturday to compete at the Warrior Invitational hosted by Wisconsin Lutheran College. “This is a challenging course, but it’s nothing that we don’t experience every day in our training. The weather forecast calls for cooler temperatures, so it will be a good opportunity for the guys to rebound. They’re up to the task,” their coach said.
September 22, 2014
Cyclones continue to set bar higher
The Cyclones continued to show progress in some areas of their second 8K race of
the season as they finished 12th of 15 teams on Sept. 20 at the Gil Dodds
Invitational hosted by Wheaton College.
Yousef Khazneh led the assault over the altered 8,045-meter course at St. James Farm in Warrenville in 75th in 28:06. Following him were Anthony Briante in 87th in 28:25, Braulio Castellanos in 112th in 29:00, Justin Briante in 147th in 30:14, Alejandro Montes in 162nd in 30:59, Dawid Palac in 172nd in 31:32, Anton Thauer in 175th in 31:44, and Larry Byrd in 190th in 32:43. There were 225 finishers. The course was altered due to a construction project at the forest preserve.
“We were faster at the front and slower at the back from a week ago,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer, “So our four through seven guys have to push harder. Their spacing was not as good as at Illinois Intercollegiates, but we expect that to change next week. The guys work hard, and we now have to convince them that when adversity strikes during the race they are very capable of dealing with it. We continue to be pleased with the way they finish and that will get better as well. Overall, a good outing but with potential for lots of improvement.”
The men travel on Friday to the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational hosted by Augustana College. “This is our first time at Augie in several years, and we’re excited about competing there. The field is big and fast as is the course, and our guys can take advantage of both. This will be a lot of fun,” Horstmeyer said.
September 15, 2014
Cyclones accomplish task at Illinois Intercollegiates
The Cyclones turned in a negative performance Sept. 12 at the Illinois
Intercollegiate Cross Country Championship hosted by Olivet Nazarene University,
but that was a good thing.
Anthony Briante led the attack over the 8K course, finishing 91st out of 158 in 28:54 while Yousef Khazneh was just behind in 93rd in 28:58. Following him were Braulio Castellanos (99th, 29:14), Justin Briante (110th, 30:00), Brandon Ceh (113th, 30:05), Anton Thauer (114th, 30:18), Alejandro Montes (119th, 30:46), Dawid Palac (126th, 31:02), Jesus Rojas (129th, 31:28), Sergio Villareal (130th, 31:31), and Larry Byrd (142nd, 33:15). Their effort produced a 12th place finish out of 14 teams.
“This was their first 8K since they got washed out last week, and we stressed running controlled and together. They accomplished that. We also liked the way they ran negative splits which is what we have been emphasizing. In this case a negative is a positive. They finished strong and showed what they’re capable of doing now. They raised the bar,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer.
The men head to the Gil Dodds Invitational hosted by Wheaton College on Saturday. “We’re looking forward to continued improvement, of course, but more importantly consistency and closing the gap between each other. They are very capable of doing both,” Horstmeyer said. “This will be the guys’ opportunity to race on the course where our conference and regional championships will be held.”
September 5, 2014
The Cyclones are among the best in the nation after the first week of competition. The men are ranked 22nd in the first 2014 NJCAA Division I poll. “We’re pleased that we have been recognized, and we’ll use it as added motivation to continue to work hard,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer.
September 2, 2014
Cyclones start season on the right foot
The Runnin’ Cyclones got off to a good start at their initial 2014 outing on
Friday, Aug. 29, at Elmhurst College’s Early Bird Invitational, finishing eighth
among 13 teams.
Yousef Khazneh led his teammates over the 6K course in 21:03 and a 40th place finish out of 164 runners. Following him were Anthony Briante (46th, 21:21), Justin Briante (75th, 22:19), Braulio Castellanos (85th, 22:40), Alejandro Montes (108th, 23:46), Brandon Ceh (111th, 23:55), Sergio Villarreal (120th, 24:29), Jesus Rojas (124th, 24:42), and Anton Thauer (125th, 24:47).
“We had a good race. We stressed finishing strong, and they accomplished that. We’re pleased with their first effort,” said Coach Mark Horstmeyer. “They learned a lot, and that’s what the early part of the season is all about.”
The men travel to the Midwest Classic at Olivet Nazarene University on Friday to take on their first 8K challenge. “We’re looking forward to seeing where our guys are in their first 8K competition. It should be a fun race and an eye-opener for our first-year guys,” their coach said.
August 28, 2014
Experienced Cyclones ready to tear up some courses in 2014
The 2014 Cyclones can be summed up in one word: “EXPERIENCED.” All but one
runner from last year returns, and the two new runners are veterans in their own
In 2013 the men finished third at the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference championship and three members qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association championship. Of the three, conference runner-up and All-Region IV first team selection Dawid Palac (Reavis) and All-Region IV third team runner Brandon Ceh (Evergreen Park) return and will be counted on heavily to score for the Cyclones.
“We are expecting big things from Dawid and Brandon as they are themselves. Both have been through the wars and achieved success last year. Now they have to use what they learned to reach even higher. They are very capable of doing that,” said Mark Horstmeyer, who returns in his 15th year as coach.
Also expected to be a significant contributor is Anthony Briante (Evergreen Park). If commitment, dedication and hard work are any indication of future success, “Anthony will be outstanding. He really put in the miles this summer and continues to work hard every day. We are expecting great things from him this year, and he is up to the challenge,” Horstmeyer said.
The newest members of the team also will have a huge impact on this season’s fortunes. Yousef Khazneh (Richards) and Braulio Castellanos (Reavis) have a wealth of high school and track experience. “Yousef ran all summer—he has high aspirations for this season. If what he has shown us so far is any indication, he will have an outstanding season,” Horstmeyer said. “Braulio will be very solid for us, and that’s what we need. He has shown us consistency and improvement, and that’s what we want out of him.”
Shoring up the Cyclone effort this season are returnees Justin Briante (Evergreen Park), Anton Thauer (St. Rita), Alejandro Montes (Eisenhower), Jesus Rojas (Eisenhower), Sergio Villarreal (St. Laurence) and Larry Byrd (Evergreen Park). “We have really been impressed with the way Justin and Alejandro have prepared for this season. They have put in a lot of miles over the summer, and that will really help us and them to accomplish our mission. We are really pleased with their focus. Sergio is battle-tested, and we will need that experience to help bring along our new guys. He’s been working hard, and we need to have him turn in solid performances week after week,” Horstmeyer said. “Anton came on really strong at the end of last season when it counted the most, and we think he is capable of accomplishing a lot more. Jesus was hampered by illness at the wrong time of the season last year, but we think he’ll be ready to help us this year. He is determined. Larry needs to continue to improve. He showed by the end of last year that he is capable of making that commitment to do whatever it takes to reach his goals and meet our expectations.”
The focus and experience of this squad can only lead to a successful season. “We have been very pleased with what we have seen in the early going. Our returnees know the ropes, but most importantly they know what they have to do this season in training and in races to accomplish even greater things. They are up to the task. Our new guys are showing us that they too are committed to doing all they can to make this season memorable. This will be a fun group of guys to watch and see how they use their experience to reach even greater heights,” their coach said.