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Eckert leads the way at 'Back to the Nature Preserve'

Eckert leads the way at 'Back to the Nature Preserve'

August 31, 2018

BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University cross country team opened the 2018 campaign with their annual Back to the Nature Preserve Invitational on Friday evening.

The women's team came home with a solid third-place finish, trailing nationally-ranked Ohio Northern and only 13 points behind Division II foe The University of Findlay.

The Beavers had three women place inside the top 20, led by senior Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) with a 10th place finish and a time of 20:33.37. She was followed closely by junior Alexis Cash (Gaines, Mich./Lake Fenton) and sophomore Kimberly Hetrick (Fremont/Ross) as they finished in the 18th and 20th positions, respectively. Senior Tami Groff (Versailles) and sophomore Bailie Barrington (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) rounded out the scoring five for the Beavers with finishes of 24th and 27th.

The Bluffton men were led by senior Jonah Eckert (Terre Haute, Ind./West Vigo) with a great first-meet showing, finishing 16th overall in the race and 10th out of collegiate runners with a six-kilometer time of 20:07.94. Juniors Dakota Frost (Hicksville) and Connor Gulick (St. Louisville/Utica) finished within 10 seconds of each other as the second and third placers for the Beavers.

The University of Findlay men came home victorious, followed by Ohio Northern and Ohio Christian which rounded out the top three in the men's race.

The Beavers will kick into their full distances on Saturday, Sept. 15, when they travel to the pre-conference meet in Shelbyville, Ind., their first of three trips to Blue River Park.