Miller 7th To Lead Valley XC
Tippecanoe Valley’s Chesnee Miller was seventh overall to highlight the Vikings’ offering at the Three Rivers Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday morning at Valley.
Miller ran a 21:25 as part of three individual Viking runners. Bailey Bussard added a top-15 for the hosts with a 22:50, and Maria Henderson finished at 26:48.
Maconaquah’s Abby Jordan won the girls race with a championship time of 19:53 and Rochester claimed the team title, Maconaquah in second.
On the boys side, Rochester also won the team title, edging out Maconaquah, and the Braves also had the individual champion in Isaiah Wittenberg with a winning time of 16:46.
For the Viking boys, the team also had just three individuals in action. Isaac Whetstone was the top placer in 28th at 19:56, followed by Evan Myers at 20:49 and Eli Sterk at 21:48.
Grace Tested In Louisville
The Grace cross country teams were presented with a big challenge at the Louisville Classic on Saturday and both the men’s and women’s squads passed the test. The Lancer women raced to an 11th place finish out of 55 teams, while the men ended in 15th position out of 61 teams.
The annual meet features three levels of races, with teams from around the country traveling to compete at the E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park course in Louisville. More than 100 different colleges and universities were represented at the event.
Heather Plastow led the women with a 34th-place finish out of nearly 500 competitors with a time of 19:05. She was closely followed by freshman Kylie Sauder in 19:08 and Mallory Hiatt in 19:13. The top five for Grace was rounded out by Elizabeth Moore with a time of 20:10 and Katie Acker in 20:14.
Only two NAIA schools finished ahead of the Lancers in the large race.
“The ladies competed well again,” said Coach Jake Poyner, “but they’re nowhere near what they’re capable of as a group. Today’s performance will give them some confidence and we’re excited for this group to continue to move forward together.”
Despite missing one of their top runner, the No. 19-ranked Grace men’s team nearly surpassed the school-record team time they set earlier this season, the first five runners finishing in a total time of 2:10.36. Junior Bryan Hernandez-Rios led the charge, placing 9th overall out of a field of 534 runners with a personal-best time of 25:02. He was followed by Logan Rufenacht in 41st position in 25:47.
Dimitri Margaritidis, who finished among Grace’s top two runners in the first two races this year, sat out on Saturday due to a minor injury.
The next four runners for the Lancers were only 25 seconds apart. Freshman Justin Van Prooyen finished in 26:22, followed by Isaac Beatty (26:37), Brandon Kleber (26:46) and Macallister Cheek (26:47).
Grace was the fourth NAIA team in the race and was the top finishers among six Crossroads League schools.
“The men handled a larger race well and we had guys really step up,” said Poyner. “Eight of the ten who raced today ran personal bests, and that was without Dimitri, who made the mature choice to sit out. A special shout-out to our three freshmen (Van Prooyen, Kleber, Jose Quinones), who all stepped up this morning and raced well.”
A few members of the team will compete on October 8 at the Bethel Invitational. The full team will race again on October 23 at the Great Lakes Challenge in Grand Rapids, Mich.