The Goshen College men’s cross country team had eight athletes achieve personal bests this past Saturday at the Knight Invitational at Calvin College. The Maple Leafs finished eighth overall and second among NAIA schools.
Goshen secured three top 40 places as Vincent Kibunja led the Maple Leafs with a 15th-place finish. The senior posted a time of 25 minutes and 40 seconds which was the 20th-fastest time in the programs history. Liam Ellis, a sophomore, was next to cross the line for the Maple Leafs with a time of 27:07.2, in 37th-place. He was followed three places behind by Salvador Escamilla, a junior, who clocked a time of 26:14.0. Both Ellis and Escamilla achieved collegiate bests.
Max Burkholder, a senior, also achieved his collegiate best with a time of 26:59.7, along with sophomore Victor Kiprotich who hit a time of 27:46.9.
The Maple Leafs scored a total of 247 team points which put them ahead two ranked opponents, No. 12 Aquinas (311) and No. 17 Cornerstone (385). The team also secured votes in the NAIA national preseason poll.
The men’s team also achieved collegiate bests in the Open 8K. Sophomores Solomon Wiebe-Powell and Jonah Hochstelter both posted sub-30 times. Wiebe-Powell ran a 27:59.0 and Hochstetler a 29:18.9. Seniors Seth Weaver and Luke Geiser were the last of the Maple Leafs to also achieved collegiate bests. Weaver posted a time of 29:44.3 and Luke Geiser a time of 30:09.9.
In the women’s race, Sierra Ross Richer, a junior, ran the fastest race of her career at 6:37 per-mile. But as the race was contested over the longer NCAA championship distance, none of the women set new career-best times.
Alena Miller, a first year, led the team with a time of 24:38.0, finishing in 115th place. She was closely followed by Ross Richer who came 119th.
Ariana Perez Diener, Makayla Collier, Erica Gunden and Annelise Wiebe were all within the 26th minute mark. Megan Graber then brought the Maple Leafs home with a time of 29:11.5.
The Maple Leafs have a week off from competing before they return on Friday, Sept. 20 for the Raider Invitational in Grand Rapids. The men’s event is scheduled for 2 p.m. and are followed by the women at 2:45 p.m.