Cross country sends two to nationals, concludes team season

By Brooks Hooley

Sophomore Tyler Herber and junior Gretchen Spahr will be running in the national meet (Photo Provided)

Sophomore Tyler Herber (center) and junior Gretchen Spahr (not pictured) will be running in the national meet Nov. 23. (Photo Provided)

The Foresters’ cross country season came to an end Nov. 9 at the Crossroads League meet hosted by Grace College.

Several individual accomplishments highlighted both the men’s and women’s teams. Junior Gretchen Spahr and sophomore Tyler Herber will both be running the national meet. The women’s team finished third in the conference behind Indiana Wesleyan and first-place Taylor. Bethel, Spring Arbor, Goshen, Taylor and Indiana Wesleyan finished ahead of the men, who captured sixth place. Indiana Wesleyan won the men’s conference title.

Junior Gretchen Spahr was the first to cross the finish line for the women’s team, coming in seventh overall with a time of 19:01. Shortly after, sophomore Krista Wood and senior Cendall Ogle finished 13th and 14th with times of 19:17 and 19:18 respectively. Juniors Erin Rockey and Natalie Spahr were the next two to cross the finish line for the Foresters, finishing 20th and 26th respectively. Finishing at 28th was sophomore Hannah Moore, and rounding out the field for the university was freshman Christine Sparks, finishing 30th.

“It was a good season overall,” Ogle said. “We struggled with health and injuries, but it was a lot of fun. We all got along really well.”

Gretchen Spahr and Ogle received all-conference honors, Spahr her third in three years and Ogle her fourth in four years. Spahr attributes this success to Coach Tom King.

“Coach King pushes us to always give our best effort at every race throughout the season,” Spahr said. “Every year is different, but God has blessed me with such a great team and coach that prepares us for conference each time.”

“Gretchen is a great competitor,” King said. “She leads by example and does her best.”

For the men’s team, sophomore Tyler Herber finished seventh overall with a time of 26:38, earning him his second all-conference award in two years. Herber also credits King for his success.

“It’s great to have a coach to trust and rely on,” he said.

“Tyler is becoming a leader,” King said. “He leads in practice and did a great job of leadership after [the conference meet].”

Freshman Eric Baker was the next to finish for the university, with a time of 28:07, good enough for 31st. Junior Brian Menzie finished close behind Baker at 33rd with a time of 28:11. Freshman Stephen Kays finished 45th with a time of 29:05. Rounding out the field for the Foresters was freshman Austin Presnell at 47th, junior Josh Graham at 51st and freshman Michael Bowman at 60th.

The cross country national championships will take place at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kans. Nov. 23.

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