Running in a tough regional cross country meet that included three of the top fifteen NAIA nationally ranked teams, the Forester men showcased their own talents with a third place finish.
HU, ranked 20th in the last NAIA poll, finished with a score of 89 behind second-ranked Aquinas (48) and fourth-ranked Cornerstone (56). The Foresters earned some revenge by placing ahead of Indiana Wesleyan (104), who edged HU for the MCC title two weeks earlier. Fifth place went to Indiana Tech (125) followed by Siena Heights (138), Taylor (168), Spring Arbor (236), Goshen (241), Bethel (278), Marian (291), Madonna (358), Grace (389) and Concordia (403).
"We ran well against the #2 and #4 teams in the nation, and they're legit," said Coach King. "They didn't beat us by all that much."
After each runner posted a season best time in the conference meet, the Foresters continued to show improvement by duplicating the feat in the regional event. HU placed three runners in the top 11 with each earning NAIA All-Region honors. Freshman Tobias Sauter, running in just his second race of the season, paced the Foresters with an eighth place finish in 25:34.03. Joseph Njeri and Nick Johnson were just two seconds behind in tenth and eleventh place with times of 25:36.49 and 25:36.80 respectively.
Rounding out the scoring for the Foresters were Dan Lindbloom, who was 24th in 26:04.32 and Luke Diehl who finished 37th in 26:40.47. Michael Lehman (53rd, 27:13.40) and Luke Andrews (77th, 28:06.44) also ran for HU.
"The kids really ran well," said Coach King. "Those are all outstanding times. We've just been getting better and better all year, and we can run faster yet."
In the women's meet, the Foresters finished 14th of 15 teams with a score of 362 to bring their season to a close. Indiana Tech took the women's title with a team score of 59 followed by Indiana Wesleyan (64), Spring Arbor (69), Aquinas (108), Cornerstone (152), Siena Heights (164), Bethel (211), Taylor (219), Goshen (260), Marian (292), Grace (292), Madonna (333), St. Francis (353), HU (362) and Davenport (481).
Jill Roughia was HU's top finisher with a time of 19:44.77, nearly 30 seconds faster than her previous best, to finish 40th. Michelle Kyler crossed in 21:17.50 for a 93rd place finish. Ashley Buck posted a 22:20.88 for 115th place. Bradie Vance was 121st in 22:36.68 and Joanna Stebing was 125th in 22:59.57.