2015 Cross Country
Beavers fight through rain at the Nature Preserve
September 5, 2015
BLUFFTON, Ohio - After six weeks without rain, the skies opened and the lightning flashed over the Bluffton University Nature Preserve, forcing delays to the racing. However, it did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the Beavers’ cross country team as they took to the course for their first meet of the season.
Freshman Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) had an impressive debut, running among the leaders from the start of the 5000 meter race, finishing 4th in 19:31, only 11 seconds off the winning time of Ohio Northern’s Emily Richards. Joining Matteson in scoring positions were junior Anna Hairston (Mansfield/Ontario), sophomore Alissa Hauke (Hillsboro/Hillsboro), freshman Devony Miller (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) and freshman Tami Groff (Versailles/Versailles). Rounding out the varsity seven were sophomore Elaina Alpeter (Galloway/Hilliard Bradley) and freshman Michelle Kelsey (South Whitley, IN/Whitko).
“The women opened their season well,” said Head Coach Karen Brandt. “We saw a lot of hard work, enthusiasm and team focus throughout pre-season camp which translated into effective racing. Our freshmen showed confidence and desire in their first college competition; our upperclassmen are inspired by the possibilities that lie ahead of the team as the season progresses. We have runners who didn’t finish in varsity positions who are hungry to do so and willing to do the work it takes to get there. It definitely looks like a case of healthy competition within the team. It’s early days to be making any predictions, but it could be a good year for our women.”
Senior Zach Bradley (Sheffield/Brookside) led the men with a solid 12th place finish over the 6000 meter course, clocking 20:05. Junior Jack Fisher (Norwalk/St. Paul) finished strongly to close a gap on Bradley, placing 16th in 20:08. Freshman Jonah Eckert (Terre Haute, IN/West Vigo), sophomore Chris Tatom (Greenfield, IN/Greenfield Central) and freshman Jacob Hill (Dayton/Wayne) completed the scoring five with freshman Michael Lehman (West Liberty/West Liberty Salem) and sophomore Kris Lyons (Vickery/Margaretta) completing the varsity squad.
“I am just as pleased with the men’s start to the season as I am with the women,” continued Coach Brandt. “Camaraderie, team focus, drive and desire have been high since they arrived on campus and the men were eager to put their work in action. We had a quality group of freshmen join our ranks who will add depth to the squad and like the women, should produce a good season.”
The Beavers will race next on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Otterbein University with the men toeing the line at 10:45 followed by the women at 11:30 a.m.