Ryan Smith, a senior, led the way for not just Goshen, but every racer in the field. Twelve Maple Leafs posted their fastest times of the season Saturday as the Goshen College men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the NAIA Great Lakes Invitational in Grand Rapids, Michigan.Ten of Goshen’s 19 runners turned in the fastest times of their careers, while two more added season bests that were slower than times run in previous seasons.
Smith took first place in the men’s race with a time of 25:03.13. Chelsea Foster and Nora Rangel, first-years, led the way for Goshen’s women, finishing within a second of each other (Foster in 20:00.08 and Rangel 20:00.32) to take 72nd and 73rd respectively.
Two other Maple Leaf women would make it under the 21-minute cut, as Jill Steinmetz, a junior, and Megan Graves, a senior, would tally career bests at 20:46.41 and 20:49.02 respectively. Annelise Wiebe, a first-year, was the fourth Goshen runner to cross the finish line and completed the course in her second-fastest career time, 21:41.01.
Jenae Stutzman and Megan Graber, first-years, rounded out the seven Maple Leaf female competitors and each succeeded in whittling over 30 seconds off of their best time.
Not to be outdone by Smith’s victory, six other Goshen men recorded personal career bests. After leading the team last race with a career best, Steven Cranston, a first-year, continued lowering his best time by nine seconds in this race, to finish second on the team and take 15th overall in 25:49.89.
Seniors Luke Graber and Luke Kaufman were the third and fourth Maple Leafs across the finish line. Both sliced their best times in college as well, Graber by just over 10 seconds at 26:41.22 and Kaufman dropping 46 seconds for his 26:53.99 finish. Daniel Klink, a junior, and Alex Steiner, a sophomore, were Goshen’s fifth and seventh runners, both clocking their quickest time this season by over half a minute.
Ryan Haggerty, Max Burkholder and Rafael Zuniga, first-years, all improved their career times as well, with Burkholder’s 1:04.3 reduction the biggest cut of the day for any Maple Leaf.
The Maple Leaf men took 10th place out of 28 teams, while the women finished in 16th out of 28 teams. Marian won the men’s team competition, and the host Aquinas paced the women’s squads.
With the conclusion of the regular season, Goshen now gears up for the Crossroads League Championship on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion.