2017 Cross Country
Cross Country Preview
August 10, 2017
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University Cross Country teams have lofty goals for the 2017 campaign. The high expectations are due to the exciting conclusion of the 2016 season and the quality of the returning runners from last year. The men's team finished fourth at the HCAC meet and experienced the graduation of just one of the top five (scoring) athletes.
Likely to lead the squad is senior Kris Lyons (Vickery/Margaretta) who is coming off of this best year ever. He set school records, upped the standard for the rest of the team in terms of training and provided a tough, no excuses style of leadership. Close on Kris's heels will be sophomore Dakota Frost (Edgerton/Hicksville). Dakota stepped up to the demands of college running last year and became a force within the HCAC during his freshman campaign. He and Kris pushed and pulled each other all through the track season and look to do more of the same as they head into the harrier season.
Sophomore Connor Gulick (St. Louisville, Ohio/Utica), junior Jonah Eckert (Terre Haute, Ind./West Vigo) and junior Jacob Hill (Dayton/Wayne) are all likely to be in the top five, being major contributors in driving down the men's score. Despite difficulties in the outdoor track season they have all rebounded well in their summer mileage buildup for this season.
Head Coach Karen Brandt said of the men's team, "We have enough talent and definitely the fortitude to improve on the team's fourth place conference finish from 2016. I see the potential for at least two from our squad being all conference and possibly three or four. They have put in their summer training, which is an absolute necessity in a highly cardio sport like cross, and are primed to go."
The women's squad is coming off a 2nd place team finish in last year's HCAC meet. With all but one of last year's top five returning, the expectation is to improve a position in this year's team battle.
Junior Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) has the potential to be a major force in the conference. She wrapped up the 2017 outdoor track season with high placings in both the 5k and 10k races and therefore is poised to have a superb cross season. Sophomore Alexis Cash (Gaines, MI/Lake Fenton) is coming off of a quality freshman year and with that experience should be right there with Matteson in this season's races.
Senior Alissa Hauke (Hillsboro) and junior Devony Miller (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) have both had a good summer of training and also are poised to have memorable cross seasons with the potential to be right there with Matteson and Cash. The number five spot will see quality competition with freshman Bailie Barrington (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) and sophomore Arie Cox (Ontario/Ontario) fighting to get into the scoring positions.
Coach Brandt stated, "We do not have significant depth but we do have a great group of ladies who have been reporting excellent summer training. If they believe, and put the ‘gurr’ in their girl, we will be an outstanding team. I have seen them make tremendous strides as individuals and as a team. The march toward the top of the conference has gone from 7th to 3rd to 2nd in the past three years. It is now time to take that next step."
The teams open their competition season on Friday, Sept. 1, at home in the "Back to the Nature Preserve Invitational." Come out and see your Beavers in action against a large and talented field in this exciting meet on a very fan-friendly course.