BRANSON, Mo. – Grace’s cross country team enjoyed one of the best national tournament finishes in team history on Saturday.
The men’s team placed third at the 2019 NCCAA National Championship, tying the best finish in program history.
The women finished sixth overall, one spot away from the program record.
Heather Plastow was named NCCAA All-American, the first such honor for the Lady Lancers since 2016. Plastow placed ninth out of 75 runners with a time of 19:53. She was the second-fastest runner outside of NCAA Div. II competitors.
Suzanne Sickafoose posted a strong time of 21:22 for 36th place in her final collegiate race. A pair of freshmen were next as Elizabeth Moore (21:36) and Weslea Arthur (21:38) finished by each other.
Rebekah Rexroth (22:26) and Mallory Aker (22:36) completed Grace’s top-six finishers.
On the men’s side, Ben Rankin just missed a top-10 result. The senior posted a time of 27:19 to place 11th in his collegiate finale.
The next three Lancers finished in a 10-second span, including Bryan Hernandez-Rios (27:38), Logan Rufenacht (27:43) and Carter Meyer (27:47).
Isaac Beatty was next at 28:15, and Dimitri Margaritidis (28:31) and Zach Johnson (29:00) rounded out Grace’s runners.
“This was by far the toughest and most interesting course we raced on all year with some big hills and elevation changes, and I thought our men and women ran really well today,” said Grace head coach Jake Poyner. “Our men’s team was a few points from a runner-up finish, and I thought they fought all the way down to the line to close the gap on the team scores. Heather ran a patient and tactical race today for the women to make All-American.”