2013 Cross Country
Bluffton men take 5th at Otterbein
Sept. 21, 2013
WESTERVILLE, Ohio - In conditions more conducive to mud wrestling than running, the Bluffton University Beavers took to the shoe-swallowing muck and ankle-deep water on Otterbein University's cross country course and performed admirably. With portions of the course completely flooded, an alternative of multiple laps was improvised which only intensified the bog-like conditions as hundreds of feet churned a muddy path around the fields on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Leading the men for the fourth consecutive race was freshman Josh Edens (Westerville/Central) with a 14th place finish among 210 competitors. Edens navigated the course in 26:56. Sophomore Colin McCloskey (Sylvania/Northview) was the second Beaver across the line in 37th place with freshman Jack Fisher (Norwalk/St. Paul) following closely in 44th. The pair ran 27:50 and 28:02, respectively. Despite the abysmal conditions, a trio of freshman: Travis Siler (Miamisburg), Shawn Campo (Galion) and Seth Clark (Houston), saw significant improvement over their times from one week ago when they first tackled the 8k distance. The men placed 5th among 17 teams, being bested only by Mount Union, Wooster, Otterbein and Denison and placing well ahead of HCAC rivals Defiance and Transylvania.
The women's team was once again paced by freshman Anna Hairston (Mansfield/Ontario) who placed 29th in a field of 199 women. Hairston completed her maiden 6k race in 25:16. In a tight battle for top team honors, sophomore Tara Murphy (Westerville/Thomas Worthington) and freshman Raven Wilson (Coshocton/Riverview) ran 27:20 and 27:25 to complete the Beavers' top three scorers. The team finished 14th among 17 teams, but of significance, ahead of HCAC squads Defiance and Transylvania.
"Cross country is never a sport for the faint of heart," said Head Coach Karen Brandt, "but today's conditions could have given even the most seasoned veteran pause. Adding to the virtual lake which greeted us upon arrival was the torrential downpour during one of the earlier high school races. As I told the teams, 'Become one with the mud today.' Cross country is never about time anyway, but all about place so we concentrated on staying on our feet and passing as many people as possible. To their immense credit, this is one tough, dedicated group of athletes."
The teams will compete next at the All-Ohio Championship on Friday, Oct. 4th on the dedicated course of Cedarville University where teams from all three NCAA divisions as well as the NAIA will come together to compete against each other for top honors in the state. Race times are 2 p.m. for the men's championship 8k; 2:45 women's championship 6k; 3:30 men's open 8k and 4:15 p.m. women's open 6k.