By Josh Neuhart
Grace College Sports Information
UPLAND – Grace’s cross country team had its final tuneup race before the postseason on Saturday with the Midwest Challenge.
The men’s squad placed seventh out of 10 teams, while the women were eighth out of 14.
The Lancers’ next race is the Crossroads League Championships in Marion, Ind., on Nov. 6.
“We had some awesome performances. Some days it just doesn’t click for everyone, and we’re working on consistency,” said Grace head coach Jake Poyner. “For a young team, you expect this to be one of the biggest challenges in the midst of what this semester has looked like. Many are racing their first collegiate seasons, so this was a good challenge with conference approaching.”
The large event saw 159 runners in the women’s Gold Race and 115 in the men’s Gold Race.
On the women’s side, Heather Plastow and Mallory Hiatt both finished in the top 20. Plastow was 14th place with a time of 18:55, and Hiatt was 15th just three seconds behind her.
Kaelyn Johnson was third for the Lady Lancers at 20:25. Makenzie Adams (21:44), Tara Friesen (21:50), Weslea Arthur (22:01) and Anna Hulstedt (22:13) were the No. 4-7 runners for the team.
In the men’s race, Bryan Hernandez-Rios and Logan Rufenacht paired up at the top for Grace. Hernandez-Rios crossed the finish line in 26:31 for 23rd place, and Rufenacht posted a time of 26:42 for 26th place.
Dimitri Margaritidis was next in line for the Lancers in 48th place at 27:38, and Hayden Mullett (27:58), Macallister Cheek (28:08), Dakota Ames (28:19) and Matt Halbakken (28:33) rounded out Grace’s top-seven runners.
“Today was a bit of a mixed bag, which is how this sport goes sometime,” Poyner added. “The nuances of learning and growing throughout all of it is what we’re looking for. Right now, that’s confidence for the good things and reminders of where we need to go on the offensive for others.”