Goshen’s cross country teams ran their final meet of the season this past Saturday at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. 11 runners set personal bests, the men’s team finishing 5th out of 10 teams and the women finishing 8th out of 10.
The men were again led by Ryan Smith, a senior, and Steven Cranston, a first-year, who were the first Maple Leafs across the finish line. Smith captured the meet’s top position along the way, once again setting the school’s record, finishing 13.8 seconds faster than his previous best. Cranston also ran the fastest time of his career on the way to an eighth place finish with a time of 25:33.8.
Both Smith and Cranston qualified for the NAIA Cross Country Championship in Elsah, Illinois on November 19th.
Luke Graber (24th), a senior, Juan Perez (40th), a first-year, Brenner Burkholder (68th), a junior, and Delphin Monga, a first-year, each set career bests. Daniel Klink (48), a senior, Luke Kauffman (52), a senior, Ryan Haggerty, a first-year, Alex Steiner, a sophomore, Max Burkholder, a first-year, and Jose Ortiz, a sophomore, also competed for Goshen.
For the women, Chelsea Foster, a first-year, was once again the first Maple Leaf to finish, setting a team-high for the season with a time of 19:38.7 to capture a 26th place finish. Fellow first-year Nora Rangel was the next Goshen runner across the line, placing 42nd.
Megan Graves, a senior, ran a career best 20:07.9, 41 seconds faster than her previous best, to end her collegiate cross country career. Jill Steinmetz, a junior, and Megan Graber, a first-year, also recorded their best times of the season.
Graves, Steinmetz, Anneliese Wiebe, a first-year, Siana Emery, a first-year, and Jenae Stutzman, a first-year, recorded finishes of 47th, 48th, 78th, 103rd and 106th respectively.
Head coach Rustin Nyce addressed the fact that several key runners and team leaders will graduate this spring, but feels the program will still be in good hands.
“The women will miss Megan and Kayla and their senior leadership,” Nyce said. “But they did a good job of setting the standard and giving the women something to emulate moving forward. And with the younger runners that we have and the runners coming in we’re going to be just fine.
“On the men’s side, losing Ryan is going to be big a blow, as well as Luke Graber and Luke Kauffman and Danny. But Isaiah Friesen is coming back, and I think Steven is ready to take more of a leadership role after watching this group of senior guys, and I think he’s grooming himself to be ready for that leadership role and will evolve into that role as he progresses and gets older.”