Nine runners place top 10, Bouwman takes individual title at Defiance Invitational

The Goshen College Men and Women’s cross-country team traveled to Defiance, Ohio for the season opener this past weekend. When the event ended, the women’s team had five runners in the top 10 overall as they took the team title. The five runners included freshman Karla Folker (2nd), senior Rachel Baker (4th 21:03), freshman Mara Weaver (6th 21:13), senior Michelle Miller (8th 21:30), and freshman Alita Yoder (9th 21:32).

The men’s team had four runners in the top 10 overall and finished second as a team. Senior Ben Bowman led the pack taking 1st place with a time of 27:44, followed by his brother and fellow senior Nick Bowman (5th 29:01), freshman Jacob GunderKline (9th 29:19), and junior Paul Versluis (10th 29:28). When asked about his first place finish, Ben Bouwman stated that “I felt good about my race and it was fun to win.”

This year’s GC XC team is the bigger than any coach Doug Yoder has yet seen. It has an interesting make-up. For starters, the team contains a GC baseball player as well as members who were formerly basketball players, soccer players, or wrestlers. There are 4 sets of siblings including two sets of twins (one of which is identical), and there is also great potential for confusion with names, since there are three Nicks, two Jons, two Bens, two Dietrichs (neither of which are from Germany), and two Renees.

Furthermore, there are people who are not related to each other but have the same last name, there are people who are related but did not previously know each other in any capacity whatsoever (3rd cousins), there is a Clara and a Karla, a Rachael and a Rachel, and, above all, there is unavoidable camaraderie which is perhaps even more important than the success of the team on paper. All the same, the make-up of the team “keeps things real and is one of the reasons I’m so excited for this season,” said Nick Bouwman.

As the season progresses, GC XC will be a force to be reckoned with in the MCC conference. Putting aside the competitive aspect of the sport, however, the team has been bonding, forming lasting friendships as the members get to know each other. “The team is good and we spent lots of time together and even got a home-cooked meal at Jonathan Stuckey’s house after the Defiance Invitational,” said sophomore Clara Sears.