By: Tami Groff, sports information assistant
CEDARVILLE, Ohio - The Bluffton University Beavers traveled to Cedarville University for the annual All-Ohio Championships on a warm Saturday, Sept. 28. The meet consisted of schools from all over Ohio in Division 1, Division 2, Division 3 and NAIA.
The men competed first with 301 runners for the 8k. They had to battle a hilly course with 85-degree weather. Freshman Britton Boyle (Middletown) had an outstanding race, coming in first for the Beavers with a time of 28:11 while placing 57th out of 144 Division 3 runners. "Britton showed his potential today. He stepped up as a freshman which is tough to do but his training has been consistent. This is a great stepping stone for him for this season and for seasons to come," stated Head Coach Logan Wells.
Finishing close behind Boyle was senior Dakota Frost (Edgerton/Hicksville) who took 62nd with a time of 28:24. Freshman Max Chandler (Liberty Township/Lakota East) came in third for Bluffton in 102nd place with a time of 29:48. Senior Connor Gulick (St. Louisville/Utica) placed 119th with a time of 30:47. Rounding out the top 5 scoring was sophomore Austin Hernandez (Marion, Ohio/Ridgedale) with a 128th finish at a time of 31:28. Freshmen Morgan Adams (Dublin/Coffman), running his first 8k of the season, and Zion Cook (North Baltimore) finished with times of 32:37 and 36:37, respectively. The men placed a respectable 14th out of 19 Division 3 teams.
Next up were the women who ran a 6k against a field of 282 runners from schools all over Ohio. The women fought an uphill battle due to having only six runners instead of their usual seven. Senior Alexis Cash (Gaines, MI/Lake Fenton) had an impressive finish, placing 36 out of 125 Division 3 runners with a time of 24:42. Junior Bailie Barrington (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) and senior Arie Cox (Ontario), who put in a strong performance, crossed the finish line one after the other, placing 73rd and 74th with times of 26:00 and 26:02. "Arie had a level of aggressiveness I have not seen very often and it was nice to see it on this hot day," said Wells.
Senior Tami Groff (Versailles, Ohio/Versailles) finished fourth for the Beavers with a time of 27:56 good for 103rd place. Rounding out the top 5 was sophomore Hope Nixon (Johnstown, Ohio/Johnstown-Monroe) who placed 120th with a time of 30:06. Rounding out the women's harriers was freshman Justine Lesniewski (Mantua/Crestwood) with a time of 31:14. The women also took 14th out of 19 Division 3 teams.
"It was a tough day conditions wise but I am proud of how everyone competed. The times do not tell the whole story of the effort that was made during both races. It was a solid day to build off of for the rest of the season," added Coach Wells.
The Bluffton cross country team will travel to Wilmington College for the Jenna Strong Fall Classic on Friday, October 11. The women's races is slated for 4:30 p.m. and the men will compete at 5:15 p.m.