Goshen College’s cross country teams traveled to Marion, Indiana last Friday for the Indiana Wesleyan Twilight Invitational; their opening meet of the season.The women’s team finished 11th out of thirteen competing teams but saw a top 50 finish from Nora Rangel (26), first-year, and top 100 finishes from Chelsea Foster (71), first-year, and Jill Steinmetz (99), junior. Megan Graves, senior, finished 105th with Anneliese Wiebe (115), first-year, Kayla Gray (120), senior, and Jenae Stutzman (121), first-year, all recording top 125 finishes. Also running for the women were Siana Emery and Megan Graber, first-years. Gray set a career best with a time of 22:55.1.
The men’s team was led by Ryan Smith, senior, who finished second. Steven Cranston, first-year, kicked off his collegiate career with a 12th place finish, with Juan Perez (39), first-year, Luke Graber (41), senior, and Daniel Klink (44), senior, all recording top 50 finishes. Brenner Burkholder, junior, and Alex Steiner, sophomore, both finished with top 70 times, finishing 60th and 68th respectively. Also running for the men were Ryan Haggerty, Max Burkholder, Delphin Monga, Rafael Zuniga, all first-years, and Jose Ortiz, sophomore. Brenner Burkholder set a career best with a time of 28:59.2.
Head coach Rustin Nyce was pleased with the teams’ results, saying, “I thought things went really well, there’s a lot of good points to build off of. Just knowing where our women were last year and comparing them to this year, they’re ahead of where they were last year. And with the men’s team, I was really happy with the way the upperclassmen ran but also with how the underclassmen ran, having a few of them who really surprised.”
Nyce will also be looking to his senior class for leadership on both the men’s and women’s teams. “Kayla and Megan are the only ones on the team with collegiate experience, so I rely heavily on them to get the girls ready for practices and meets. And on the men’s side, we’re led by Ryan Smith, who’s been a pretty consistent runner, but also Isaiah Friesen, Danny Klink, Luke Graber and Luke Kauffman have been consistent for the team, so they’re experience is valuable.”
The Maple Leafs will run again this Friday, Sept. 16, in Bloomington at the Indiana Intercollegiates.