Men's cross country breaks record, women place third in weekend tournament
The Biola men’s cross-country team had a record-breaking weekend by racing the fastest team time in program history in the Gold Races at the 37th Charles Bowles Invitational hosted by Willamette University in Salem, Ore. Their team time secured a fifth place finish, while the women’s team placed third overall.
Men finish in record time
The men made history by finishing with a total team time of 2:08:13 and brought in their top five finishers within 27 seconds of each other near the top of the pack. Closing the gap and racing in a pack has been the season goal for the team but grabbing the fastest team time was not necessarily a primary goal, mentioned senior Brian Aukshunas.
“We knew if we raced like we had been training, we would be able to break the record,” Aukshunas said. “We had a 27-second spread between [runners] one through five, which showed how team-oriented we were during that race and that has been the goal the entire season — to be all about each other with our foundation found in Christ.”
Freshman Kevin Horchler led the way for Biola with a time of 25:20 and finishing 35th out of 250 runners.
“Our racing strategy was for us to stay together and work together and pull each other through the race,” Horchler said.
Completing the top five runners were sophomore Danny Ledesma at 25:38, junior Collin Christensen at 25:41, Aukshunas at 25:45 and freshman Andrew Daedler at 25:47.
“It was an honor for all of us to contribute as a team to the best race in Biola [men’s] cross-country history,” Christensen said. “There have been many great teams and great runners, and to be placed up there with those teams is a special honor.”
No. 3 ranked women take third
Leading the women against the nine National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics ranked teams was senior Nychele Fischetti, coming in at 18:07 and finishing ninth out of 223 runners. Freshman Jessica Marquardt followed and placed 17th in 18:25.89. Rounding out the top five for the Eagles was senior Rachel Stump with a personal best of 18:40.20, allowing her to place 32nd overall. Sophomore Alexandra Sciarra placed 36th with a time of 18:47.15 and sophomore Chelsea Janzen placed 38th with a time of 18:47.72.
The No. 3 ranked women’s team took third place in the race, putting them behind No.6 University of British Columbia and No. 5 Northwest Christian University.
“Our race strategy was to give our best effort for the day as a team and be confident as a team since we are competing against a lot of strong runners and teams in our league,” Janzen said. “Our team goal is to put all that we have on the line and work hard as a team.”
Teams still focus on national competition
Both the men’s and women’s teams have used this race to help pave the way to their ultimate team goals.
“Our goal as a team from the very beginning of the season has been to compete at nationals,” Aukshunas said. “[We can] accomplish this with putting Christ first in every aspect of our training and our relationships we build with each other.”
The men’s and women’s teams next compete on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Vanguard University Invitational at Fairview Park in Costa Mesa.