2016 Cross Country
Kris Lyons paces Bluffton men
September 17, 2016
WESTERVILLE, Ohio - The Bluffton University men’s and women’s cross country teams ran in the Otterbein University Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 producing some very strong performances among the members of these young teams.
Junior Kris Lyons (Vickery/Margaretta) highlighted the day’s racing for the Beavers with a 20th place finish in the field of 215 men. Lyons is an amazing story, rising from the 5th or 6th position on the men’s varsity team last year to a strong and consistent 1st or 2nd man this year. In the process, he is running two to three minutes faster than his time from one year ago where he placed 156th in this same race! Sophomore Jonah Eckert (Terre Haute, Ind./West Vigo) came home in 60th, looking like he is beginning to find his pace and live up to the promise he showed in his freshman year. The Bluffton cadre of freshman talent in Dakota Frost (Edgerton/Hicksville) in 61st, Connor Gulick (St. Louisville, Ohio/Utica) in 79th and Brandon Long (Bucyrus/Colonel Crawford) in 103rd shows great promise for the second segment of the season. The remaining varsity seven consisted of senior Jack Fisher (Norwalk/St. Paul) and sophomore Jacob Hill (Dayton/Wayne).
Senior Anna Hairston (Mansfield/Ontario) led the women’s squad, breaking the finish line in 36th place in the field of 214. Freshman Alexis Cash (Gaines, MI/Lake Fenton) continued her strong debut season for the Beavers, coming home in 47th place, being closely followed by sophomore Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) in 51st. Haylee Zigan (Newark/Licking Valley), another of the freshmen women’s pack, produced a high quality race in 71st place and was quickly followed by sophomore Devony Miller (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) in 73rd to round out the scoring five. Completing the varsity finishers were freshman Arie Cox (Ontario) and sophomore Tami Groff (Versailles).
“We are making significant progress with both teams,” commented Head Coach Karen Brandt, “and there is more to come. When we hit that race where both team’s top five finishers all have “A” races on the same day, we will be vastly better than we are currently showing. While “A” races from all five on the same day is a big ask, good teams can achieve that. We have work to do but the athletes are putting it out there in workouts so there is reason to believe it can happen in a race situation.”
The Beavers have a training weekend on the 24th of September before resuming action on the grounds of the Elvin R. King Cross Country Course at Cedarville University in the All-Ohio Championship on Friday, Sept. 30. Four races will be contested throughout the afternoon: 2:00 p.m. Women’s Championship 6k; 2:45 p.m. Men’s Championship 8k; 3:30 p.m. Women’s Open 6k; and 4:15 p.m. Men’s Open 8k.