The Bluffton University cross country teams rounded out the 2018 season on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Blue River Cross Country Course for the NCAA Div. III Great Lakes Regional Championship meet, tackling the course for the third time this year.
The women's team began the day with an 18th place finish in the 33-team field for their six-kilometer trek.
Junior Alexis Cash (Gaines, Mich./Lake Fenton) led the way, earning All-Region honors with a 23rd place finish and a time of 22:43.5, the second-best time in school history behind only her time from the HCAC Championships two weeks ago on the same course. Cash is the first female in Bluffton cross country history to earn the honor, making her the best Regional finisher in school history.
Cash was followed by sophomore Bailie Barrington (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) with a time of 24:01.9 and a 92nd place finish. Senior Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) was close behind with a time of 24:22.1. Junior Arie Cox (Ontario) just missed a career-best to end her season with a time of 24:50.1, while sophomore Kimberly Hetrick (Fremont/Ross) rounded out the scoring five with a clocking of 25:12.2.
The men's harriers followed up by finishing their season with a 29th place finish in the field of 38 teams in a race that saw three all-time personal bests by the Beavers!
The leaders ran beautifully as a pack, led by junior Dakota Frost (Hicksville) with an eight-kilometer mark of 26:54.7, good enough for 101st in the field. Fellow junior Connor Gulick (St. Louisville/Utica) followed closely in 116th place with an all-time personal-best time of 27:05.4. Gulick was shadowed by senior Jonah Eckert (Terre Haute, Ind./West Vigo), who wrapped up his four-year career with a time of 27:07.9.
The final four runners for the Beavers ran as a pack of their own, led by senior Michael Lehman (West Liberty-Salem), who posted a season-best time of 30:19.4. Senior Jacob Hill (Dayton/Wayne) followed with a time of 30:56.1. Freshman Austin Hernandez (Marion/Ridgedale) and senior Joshua Ehlers (Defiance/Tinora) both finished their season with a pair of personal bests, running times of 31:23.4 and 31:28.8, respectively.
The distance runners will combine forces with the remainder of the track team in three weeks when they open the indoor track and field campaign with their season lidlifter at Tiffin University on Saturday, Dec. 1.