Grace Competes At IWU Invite
Running against a field stacked with national-caliber teams, the Grace men’s cross country squad opened the 2021 season with and impressive showing, finishing fifth out of 14 schools at the IWU Wildcat Twilight Invitational. All four teams finishing ahead of the Lancers are ranked in the national polls, including three ranked in the top ten.
The top group of runners all set personal bests for Grace, resulting in a school-record team time of 2:10:17. (Total times of the top five finishers.) Junior Bryan Hernandez-Rios led the way, finishing the 8k course in 25:14, good for ninth place.
Fellow juniors Dimitri Margaritidis and Logan Rufenacht also broke the 26-minute mark, posting times of 25:52 and 25:56, respectively. Another junior, Isaac Beatty, ran 26:26, followed by freshmen Justin Van Prooyen(26:47) and Brandon Kleber (26:56). Sophomore Hayden Mullett completed the top seven, finishing in 27:30.
“I was really proud of how they positioned and worked from strategic spots early on,” said Coach Jacob Poyner. “To run that team time compared to what we ran last year shows a lot of growth and improvement. This was an affirming day for the men of Grace.”
The Lancers ended with 128 points, just behind No. 23 Aquinas with 119. Indiana Wesleyan, Taylor and Huntington took the top three spots.
Grace returns to action next Friday, September 17 when the squad competes at the Ray Bullock Invitational hosted by Taylor University.
9. Bryan Hernandez-Rios – 25:14
18. Dimitri Margaritidis – 25:52
22. Logan Rufenacht – 25:56
36. Isaac Beatty – 26:26
46. Justin Van Prooyen – 26:47
55. Brandon Kleber – 26:56
73. Hayden Mullett – 27:30
82. Macallister Cheek – 27:50
84. Jose Quinones – 27:52
121. Zach Johnson – 28:58
123. Maurice Macklin – 29:02
130. Luke Smith – 29:15
143. Carson Martin – 29:48
The women’s cross country team faced five nationally-ranked squads in their season-opening competition at the IWU Wildcat Twilight Invitational. Grace managed an eighth-place finish in the 16-team field.
Senior Heather Plastow paced the squad, finishing ninth individually with a 5k time of 18:48. Mallory Hiatt ran 19:27, while newcomer Kylie Sauder posted a time of 19:55 to open her career.
The fourth runner for the Lancers was Anna Hulstedt, who finished in 20:13. She was closely followed by freshman Katie Acker in 20:18. Caroline Kolb (20:45) and Kate Hornocker (20:59), both freshmen, rounded out the top seven finishers for Grace.
“Today was all about learning and giving ourselves a starting point for the season,” said Coach Jacob Poyner. “Despite battling with some injury and illness and not having a few from our top seven, the ladies still improved off of what they ran at this course last year.”
The Lancers finished with 201 points, which actually tied Marian for seventh place, but the finish of each team’s sixth runner broke the tie in favor of Marian. Grace totaled a team time of 1:38.42, nearly a two-minute improvement from the same meet a year ago.
“The ladies are fired up for what’s next and we’ve got a lot more in the tank,” said Poyner.
Next up for the Lancers will be the Ray Bullock Invitational hosted by Taylor University next week on September 17.
9. Heather Plastow – 18:48
31. Mallory Hiatt – 19:27
45. Kylie Sauder – 19:55
59. Anna Hulstedt – 20:13
66. Katie Acker – 20:18
85. Caroline Kolb – 20:45
94. Kate Hornocker – 20:59
99. Kaelyn Johnson – 21:11
105. Karsyn Stewart – 21:18
126. Emma Lingenfelter – 21:44
131. Ellie Wagoner – 21:58
136. Samantha Bigham – 22:16
137. Tara Friesen – 22:18
163. Alana Bohls – 24:11
164. Sierra Hall – 24:18
166. Michaela Buriff – 24:53
167. Madison Schneiderwind – 24:58