VU Cross Country begins 2023 season with pair of third-place finishes at Walt Crawford Open


CHARLESTON, Ill. – The Vincennes University men’s and women’s Cross Country teams began their 2023 season Friday afternoon, taking part in the annual Walt Crawford Open hosted by Eastern Illinois University.

The day began with the women’s 5k race, where VU more than held their own against a field of two NCAA Division I programs in Eastern Illinois and Indiana State.

The Trailblazers women’s team was led by freshman Emily Barbosa (Sao Paulo, Brazil), who paced the VU runners to take 26th overall with a time of 21:21.3.

Freshman Lani Baskett (Sebree, Ky.) was the second VU runner across the line, taking 27th overall with a time of 22:40.4.

Sophomore Ada Peterman (Clay City, Ill.) and freshman Adi Fuller (Evansville, Ind.) were close behind with Peterman finishing 28th at 22:45.5 and Fuller ending at 23:05.3 for 29th place.

Freshman Jasmyn Self (Casey, Ill.) finished 30th overall with a time of 23:22.6, while fellow freshmen Madeline Esslinger (Bloomington, Ind.) and Grayson Haynes (Sebree, Ky.) rounded out the VU women’s runners with Esslinger finishing with a time of 25:45.9 and Haynes crossing the line at 26:02.7.

The VU women’s team finished with a total of 85 points on the day, placing them third behind Eastern Illinois and Indiana State and ahead of Kaskaskia College.

The day concluded at EIU with the men’s 8k race, which can be a new challenge for some of the new incoming freshman runners who typically only run a 5k in high school.

The VU men’s team was led by sophomore Isaac Stanford (Flora, Ill.) who placed 24th overall with a time of 27:36.3.

Freshmen Jonathan Noel (Hebron, Ind.) and Tanner Spence (Carmi, Ill.) were close behind, with Noel taking 31st at 28:17.5 and Spence placing 33rd at 28:46.2.

Freshmen Caden Hostetler (LaGrange, Ind.) and Nathaniel Whitehead (Vincennes, Ind.) rounded out the VU top-five with Hostetler finishing 35th at 29:02.2 and Whitehead crossing the line in 38th place at 29:42.0.

Sophomore Brayden Green (Sumner, Ill.) was the next across the line for VU, finishing with a time of 31:31.8.

Sophomores Matthew Gray (Washington, Ind.) and Griffin Worzella (Martinsville, Ind.) really battled it out and finished neck and neck with Gray just edging out his teammate with a time of 31:56.3 and Worzella finishing at 31:56.5.

Freshmen John Hackney (Evansville, Ind.) and Max Pendley (French Lick, Ind.) rounded out the VU men’s runners competing Friday afternoon, with Hackney finishing with a time of 32:13.3 and Pendley at 32:35.5.

The VU men’s team also scored 85 points on the day and like the women’s team placed in third behind Indiana State and Eastern Illinois and ahead of Kaskaskia College.

“It was a rough day for a lot of our freshmen,” VU Head Cross Country Coach Tyler Steigenga said. “The competition is a big step up from high school, especially for the guys, who are learning to race the longer 8k distance.”

“Today was more about getting one on the board,” Steigenga added. “I think we’ll respond a lot better in two weeks at Terre Haute, knowing what to expect and having a lot more teams in the field to race against.”

The men’s and women’s Cross Country teams will look to learn from this experience, as it was the first collegiate race for many of VU’s runners, when the Trailblazers head to Terre Haute Saturday, Sept. 16 to take part in the John McNichols Invite.



Eastern Illinois – 27

Indiana State – 30


Kaskaskia – 114


Emily Barbosa – 26, 21:21.3

Lani Baskett – 27, 22:40.4

Ada Peterman – 28, 22:45.5

Adi Fuller – 29, 23:05.3

Jasmyn Self – 30, 23:22.6

Madeline Esslinger – 34, 25:45.9

Grayson Haynes – 35, 26:02.7



Indiana State – 23

Eastern Illinois – 36


Kaskaskia – 115


Isaac Stanford – 24, 27:36.3

Jonathan Noel – 31, 28:17.5

Tanner Spence – 33, 28:46.2

Caden Hostetler – 35, 29:02.2

Nathaniel Whitehead – 38, 29:42.0

Brayden Green – 41, 31:31.8

Matthew Gray – 43, 31:56.3

Griffin Worzella – 44, 31:56.5

John Hackney – 45, 32:13.3

Max Pendley – 46, 32:35.5