Cross Country – Mon, Oct. 7, 2019 at 11:00 AM
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With 139 teams competing in the event, the Baker University cross country teams competed in the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival on Saturday, hosted by the University of Arkansas.
The men finished in 31st place after being placed in a tough first heat. The heat consisted of multiple NCAA Division I nationally ranked programs such as, No. 25 Arkansas, No. 8 Oklahoma State and (RV) Texas. The heat also consisted of the No. 1 nationally ranked NJCAA program in Cloud County Community College.
With over 300 runners competing in the first heat, Senior Greg Flores set the pace once again for the Wildcats, lowering his school record once again with a time of 25:10.5 to finish 68th in the event. Finishing second on the team was Jackson Caldwell who finished 94th with a time of 25:28.7.
“When we were placed into the DI race at the Chile Pepper Festival, the men were excited to run against the big dogs,” head coach Tim Byers said. “There are not a lot of sports across the collegiate divisions that allow for this type of competition. Out men accepted the challenge and ran tough. We had several personal records in the men’s race, with Greg Flores lowering his school record and Jackson Caldwell running a 25:28 in just his second 8k race. One of the most impressive stories was sophomore Jacob Cofer. He lost his timing chip off of his shoe. After feeling it fall off, he ran backwards on the course to find it and still ran a personal record of 26:28. While the total scored points and event placing may not look impressive, these men ran tough and had of the best races of the season so far in a talent loaded race.”
On the women’s side, the Wildcats were able to finish in 10th place, out of 41 teams, and had the top finish out of any NAIA schools in the race. The Wildcats posted a total time of 1:40:05.70 and were able to put together an average time of 20:01.14 in the race.
Mia Wilhoit led the ‘Cats on Saturday, running a time of 19:24.6, to finish in 43rd. Just 20 seconds later, Janeane Hernandez crossed the finish line with a time of 19:44.4 and placed 58th in the event. Emily Chambers finished 76th, with a time of 19:58.9, while Gracie Kopala and Jordan Smith rounded out the top-5 finishing, 103rd and 122nd respectively.
“When the women finally got their chance to run at 11:20 a.m., the temperatures were already up to 82 degrees,” coach Byers said. “They accepted the conditions and ran of the best races of the season. The women continue to impress me with their focus and toughness. Like the men’s squad, the women recorded several lifetime personal records. We were led by sophomore Janeane Hernandez, with a time of 19:44. Our two freshmen, Gracie Kopala and Jordan Smith continue to make great strides at the collegiate level while running in our top-five. We knew our tight packed running style would be beneficial in a big race like this and it proved true in the results, finishing 10th out of 41 teams, with over 350 runners from all divisions.”
Both Baker cross country teams will compete again this coming weekend. The Wildcats will have a split squad on Saturday as some athletes will run at the Haskell Invite in Lawrence, Kan., while other athletes will run at the Central Methodist University Cross Country Open, in Fayette, Mo.
Published at Mon, 07 Oct 2019 16:00:00 +0000