2015 Cross Country
Hairston earns All-HCAC at conference championship
October 31, 2015
SHELBYVILLE, Ind. - The Bluffton University men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the HCAC Cross Country Championship, hosted by Franklin College and contested at the Blue River Memorial Park in Shelbyville, Ind.
The women’s team had their best finish ever at the HCAC Cross Country Championship, placing a strong 3rd after coming in 7th when the pre-season conference coaches' poll was released. They went off the line aggressively, establishing themselves nicely in the field of 103 athletes. They defended position or moved up as the 6,000 meter race unfolded. Junior Anna Hairston (Mansfield/Ontario) led the Beavers across the finish line in 10th place, an All-Conference finish. Sophomores Elaina Alpeter (Galloway/Hilliard Bradley) and Alissa Hauke (Hillsboro) battled each other down the finish straight for 14th and 15th place, both earning Honorable Mention positions. Freshman Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) narrowly missed honors, placing 21st, fourth on the team and the third freshman in the field.
Freshman Devony Miller (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) rounded out the scoring five with a great stretch run for 24th place, passing conference competitors throughout the race that proved decisive for the team finish. The ladies' 84 points put them a mere 12 points behind second place Hanover while the Manchester women impressed the field with a 47 point first-place win. The Beavers’ varsity positions were completed by freshman Michelle Kelsey (South Whitley, Ind./Whitko) and junior Miranda Hostettler (Glenmont/West Holmes).
The men did not fare as well as the women, but nevertheless had some races of merit. Junior Jack Fisher (Norwalk/St. Paul), fighting injury most of the season, ran to a 16th place finish, an Honorable Mention position, in the field of 108 finishers. Senior Zach Bradley (Sheffield/Brookside), also coming off a series of late-season physical setbacks, finished in 29th place. The men’s youth showed with team positions three through seven being occupied by freshmen and sophomores and thus under-experienced in fields of the intensity of a conference championship. These young runners, freshman Jonah Eckert (Terre Haute, Ind./West Vigo), sophomore Chris Tatom (Greenfield, Ind./Greenfield Central), freshman Jacob Hill (Dayton/Wayne), freshman Michael Lehman (West Liberty/West Liberty-Salem), and sophomore Kris Lyons (Vickery/Margaretta) raced with courage and toughness and will progress nicely in the next few years. There is much to look to in the not-very-distant future of Bluffton men’s cross country.
The top seven members of each team are back in action on Saturday, Nov. 14 in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship meet to be held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana. The women’s 6,000 meter race starts at 11 a.m. with the men’s 8,000 meter race taking the gun at 12:30 p.m. This meet is the qualifier for the national championship to be contested a week later in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.