2016 Cross Country
Beavers kick off 2016 at Back to the Nature Preserve
September 2, 2016
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The men’s and women’s cross country teams opened their season in fine fashion on Friday, Sept. 2, on home soil, playing host to a quality field of nine teams in the annual Back to the Nature Preserve Invitational.
Sophomore Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) posted the Beavers' highest finish of the evening with 9th in the field of 87 women in the 5k race, helping to propel the women’s team to 4th in the team standings. Freshmen proved to be crucial as three of the incoming class finished among the scoring varsity five: Alexis Cash (Gaines, MI/Lake Fenton) 19th, Haylee Zigan (Newark/Licking Valley) 30th and Emily Musson (Fostoria/Arcadia) 34th. Senior Anna Hairston (Mansfield/Ontario) in 24th, completed the scoring five. Sophomore Devony Miller (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) and junior Alissa Hauke (Hillsboro) completed the varsity seven in positions 35th and 39th, respectively.
In the men’s 6k race, freshmen again played a vital role in securing a 5th place team finish, led by strong upperclass placings in the top 20. Senior Jack Fisher (Norwalk/St. Paul) was the first Beaver across the line in 14th place followed six seconds later by junior Kris Lyons (Vickery/Margaretta) in 16th. Pushing each other throughout the race, a trio of freshmen crossed the line one by one within six seconds of each other: Brandon Long (Bucyrus/Colonel Crawford) 33rd, Dakota Frost (Edgerton/Hicksville) 34th and Connor Gulick (St. Louisville/Utica) 35th. Completing the varsity seven were sophomores Jonah Eckert (Terre Haute, Ind./West Vigo) 46th and Michael Lehman (West Liberty/West Liberty-Salem) 54th in the field of 107 competitors.
“What a solid start to the season,” enthused Head Coach Karen Brandt. “Jim (Brandt, cross country/distance coach) and I felt we had a solid base of talent in the freshmen and that we had seen toughness throughout the team during the first two weeks of training. This was the most teams to attend our meet and we were happy to have the likes of Ohio Northern, Findlay, Heidelberg and Tiffin among the line-up. Our runners toed the line with a 'run second to no one' attitude and acquitted themselves well. The freshmen were pretty blown away by the intensity of their first college race, but most said they loved it and look forward to running even better as the season continues. We have work to do, no doubt, but with spreads of just over a minute among each team’s scoring five, it was definitely a good night.”
The Beavers take to the road Saturday, Sept. 10 for Hanover College (IN) to compete in the Kiwanis Invitational which serves as the preview meet for the HCAC conference championship to be held at the end of October. The men’s 8k race starts at 10 a.m. followed by the women’s 6k race at 10:45 a.m. The meet will be held at the L.S. Ayres Sports Complex, Hanover College Campus, 359 LaGrange Road.