2013 Cross Country
Bluffton men take second at Beaver Invite
By: Bryson Hartzler, sports information assistant
August 31, 2013
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's and women's cross country program opened up their 2013 campaign on Saturday and the venue for the race was the friendly confides of the University Nature Preserve. Hot and humid weather made for less than desirable conditions, but that didn't keep the Beavers from performing well against neighboring Ohio Northern and Heidelberg. The early season race was modified to 6k for the men and 5k for the women.
The men were the first to toe the line and were led by freshman Joshua Edens (Westerville/Central). Edens joined the Beavers last spring after fulfilling his military obligations and he has come back to campus in great shape, looking to excel this season. Edens finished 4th overall with a time of 19:52. The sophomore tandem of Zach Bradley (Sheffield/Brookside) and Zachary Smith (West Unity/Hilltop) rounded out the top three for the Beavers. Bradley and Smith both finished just outside the top 15 with times of 20:45 and 20:49, respectively. Overall the young Beaver squad ran well and finished second behind a very talented and seasoned ONU team and just ahead of a quality Heidelberg program.
The highlight on the women's side was the freshman duo of Raven Wilson (Coshocton/Riverview) and Anna Hairston (Mansfield/Ontario). Wilson and Hairston will certainly be the foundation of the program moving forward. The two newcomers finished 10th and 11th in a very talented women's field. Wilson narrowly edged out her teammate with a time of 20:47. Hairston finished just a fraction of a second later. Fellow freshman Megan Lefeld (St. Henry) rounded out the top three for the Beavers on Saturday with a time of 22:48.
Head Coach Karen Brandt was pleased with the incoming freshman class in addition to the returners from last year. Coach Brandt was thrilled with the performances and finishes from the three freshmen. The way they attacked the race among a very talented field showed their tremendous poise, especially the two true freshman women keeping their cool among a very prestigious ONU program. "If our returners can develop the way we anticipate, coupled with addition of our freshman class, we can make giant strides in our program," stated Coach Brandt.
The Beavers will return to action this Friday evening at the Queen Invitational hosted by Cincinnati, Xavier and Northern Kentucky.