Matt Osmulski the lone member of last year’s top 7 coming back for the North Central Men’s Cross Country team. Cardinals hit hard by graduation after winning a third straight National Title.
Good things come in threes… and in this case – three misfires from the starters gun gets some laughs from the field at the Elmhurst Early Bird Invite.
But alas, the race is underway and Osmulski showing the foot speed to beat the field out of the gate.
Half a mile in and time to cross a bridge… which Osmulski does first. The senior finishing 11th overall at last year’s National Championship… fourth best on the Cardinals……. Behind him, Alec Buetel is in second. The fellow senior looking to contribute in the top 7 in 2019.
A little ways back is the NCC freshman team, which is handling itself just fine against varsity competition.
Back on grass, Osmuski holding steady, with Buetel in tow. Teammate Gabe Pommier is just a little ways back. All-American Dhruvil Patel won this race last year with a 18:46 time, could one of these Cardinals top that mark?
Third of the way through the 6K race… and there’s legendary coach Al Carius rooting on his top pack. Al going into his 54th season as the head coach. And with the exception of the unattached former Cardinal in the race, as well as a runner from Waubonsee Community College, it’s all Cardinals at the top.
Narrowing in on the finish and the top three remains strong for North Central with Osmulski leading the way. Fun fact, the Cardinals looking to win a fourth National title in a row, something no other school has ever done. North Central has won 3 in a row once before – from 97 to 99.
To the finish and pulling away is Osmulski with an 18:54 mark… a 33 second improvement from a year ago in this race. Just 12 seconds of Patel’s top time in 2018.
Pommier comes in second with a 19:07 mark. Buetel in third – 19:15
Zachary Chapman and Thomas Rohr round out the top five with marks of 19:16 and 19:21 respectively. The Cardinals place 1 through 10, and that includes freshman Kyle Bell. Easily winning their first meet of the year.