GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Forester cross country teams had solid outings at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge hosted by Aquinas College over the weekend with the women finishing tenth out of 33 teams while the men brought home 12th among a field of 37 teams.
On the women’s side, all but one of the teams that finished ahead of HU were ranked in the NAIA top 25. Huntington finished third among the nine Crossroads teams that competed with only 10th-ranked Taylor and Indiana Wesleyan finishing in front of them.
The Foresters’ top five runners were among the first 75 in the field of 363 runners to cross the finish line. Gretchen Spahr ran to a 27th place finish in 18:50 to pace her team. Cendall Ogle also finished under 19 minutes, clocking in at 18:57 for 33rd place. Erin Rockey finished in 19:07 to place 45th. Krista Wood ran a 19:20 while Christine Sparks turned in a 19:29 to finish 63rd and 73rd respectively.
Other HU runners included Natalie Spahr (77th, 19:36), Hannah Moore (96th, 19:55), Marie Ditzler (118th, 19:58) and Kennedy Champion (309th, 23:30).
Taylor University won the invitational with 80 points. Rounding out the top ten included Olivet Nazarene (86), St. Francis (IL) (114), Indiana Tech (162), Texas Wesleyan (171), Shawnee State (179), Cornerstone (190), Indiana Wesleyan (197), Aquinas (224) and HU (241).
The HU men were also up against some of the top teams in the nation as six of the 11 teams that finished ahead of Huntington were in the top 25 of the most recent NAIA poll. Against the other nine conference teams, the Foresters finished fourth.
Tyler Herber topped HU by finished 33rd out of 387 runners in 26:03. Eric Baker posted a 26:48 to place 68th. Austin Presnell was 75th with a time of 26:53 while Brian Menzie finished 91st in 27:04. Rounding out Huntington’s scoring was Josh Graham who placed 105th in 27:21.
Other Forester runners included Stephen Kays (170th, 28:59), Michael Bowman (186th, 29:19) and Seth Murphy (274th, 29:30).
Bringing home the men’s title was St. Francis (IL) with 66 points. The top 12 included Olivet Nazarene (69), Aquinas (108), Shawnee State (113), St. Xavier (147), Indiana Tech (198), Cumberlands (237), Indiana Wesleyan (293), Siena Heights (297), Taylor (302), Spring Arbor (346) and HU (372).
Huntington has a two-week break before competing in the Crossroads League Championship hosted by Grace College on November 9.