2014 Cross Country
Beavers wrap up 2014 campaign at NCAA Regionals
November 15, 2014
MASON, Ohio - The Bluffton University men's and women's cross country teams concluded
their season Saturday at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship hosted by Wilmington
College. The meet brings together teams from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky
to determine the teams and individuals who will advance to the
national championship. It was a day of mixed results and resulting mixed emotions for the Beavers.
Coming off his dominant victory at the HCAC Championship two weeks ago, sophomore Jack Fisher (Norwalk/St. Paul) legitimately had his sights
set on qualification for the NCAA championship. "I set my goal high based on my belief in my coaches and the work I have done," said Fisher, "but unfortunately I didn't handle the pressure as well as I needed to today." Fisher clocked 25:25 over the 8,000 meter (5 mile) distance, a respectable time in most meets but not enough in a championship field of this caliber. Junior Zach Bradley (Sheffield/Brookside) performed well, running a PR 26:28 as did the ever-improving freshman, Chris Tatom (Greenfield, Ind./Greenfield Central), with a personal record 27:11 finish. Sophomores Shawn Campo (Galion) and Patrick Brean (Ashland) finished the season with fastest ever times but freshman Kris Lyons(Vickery/Margaretta) continued to be hampered by a low grade but lingering impairment.
For the women's team, sophomore Anna Hairston (Mansfield/Ontario) showed strong form and focus throughout the racing coming home in 23:57 over the 6,000 meter distance (3.74 miles). Freshman Alissa Hauke (Hillsboro), attempting to rebound from interrupted training, ran a solid 25:26 while sophomore Raven Wilson (Coshocton/Riverview) raced much more to her potential in 25:59. Rounding out the scoring five were freshman Elaine Alpeter (Galloway/Hilliard Bradley), a tough and disciplined competitor, and junior Kristin Schiefer (Bucyrus/Wynford) who improved her time by over two minutes from the race on this course in September.
"I find myself saying this after just about every race, but I am proud of this young group of runners," quipped Coach Brandt. "Yes, I am a coach and I always want faster times, better placements and team scores higher in the standings. But I also know hard work, heart and toughness when I see it and that's what the foundation of a team is built on. I still train consistently and race enough to remember how much this sport hurts--physically, mentally and emotionally. I can't call a timeout to re-strategize when I see a race going badly; I can't send in a substitute when I see a pain-etched face from oxygen-starved muscles. Distance running requires the athete to accept and embrace that mastery of pain is the essence of success. In our instant-gratification society, it is not easy to find young people willing to take the painful but rewarding journey through a cross country career. This is a quality group I have the pleasure to work with and shows me the honor it is to be called Coach"
The cross country athletes will enter a period of active rest while the rest of the track and field team continues to train for the start of the indoor season. Both segments of the team will join together for the season opener on Saturday, Dec. 6, at Defiance College.