Cross-country puts out strong performance at Vanguard invite
After many hours of hard practice, the Biola men’s and women’s cross-country teams came ready to fight and make their name known at the 23rd Annual Vanguard Invitational on Saturday. The women provided an incredible performance, coming through as the dominating first-place finishers out of seven teams to claim the team title. The men also had a strong finish, coming in third place out of the seven teams. Along with a successful finish by the entire team, many of the runners finished with personal records.
“[We were] excited to get to toe the line again and race focusing on things we have been working on in practice,” junior Chelsea Janzen said.
Women beat out Azusa and Westmont
Coming into the Vanguard Invitational, the women’s team was ranked No. 5 in the NAIA. The women finished the meet with an overall team score of 27, allowing them to come away with the victory. They were able to triumph over Biola’s longtime rivals, Azusa Pacific University, who took second place, finishing 20 points behind the Eagles. Biola also beat out No. 8 Westmont College, who finished in third place with a team score of 59 points.
Freshman Kellian Hunt led the Eagle team and placed second overall in 17:33.92. Key competitors who all ran great races for Biola were freshman Neysa Mains who came in fifth place in 18:01.81, senior Rachel Stump who finished sixth in 18:09.31 and Janzen who came in seventh place with a time of 19:08.89. Sophomore Carrie Soholt made her comeback from an injury last spring to finish in 17th place with a time of 18:29.59.
Men falling behind Vanguard and Azusa with tie for third
The men finished in a tie for third place with No. 18 Westmont, scoring 107 points. The host team, Vanguard, came away with the men’s team title with 77 points and Azusa took second place with 89 points. Senior Spencer Lyle and junior Danny Ledesma both gave Biola an edge with standout races. Lyle placed second with an impressive time of 25:27.08. Ledesma was not far behind, crossing the finish in 25:30.11 to place third. Other men who finished strong were sophomore Andrew Daedler who finished 23rd in 26:46.01 and senior Joseph Harabedian who came in 43rd place with a time of 27:54.01.
“It was a good confidence-builder and motivator for us for the bigger meets to come,” Janzen said.
The men’s and women’s teams have been hard at work preparing for their upcoming meet this Saturday.
“This is a busy time of the academic year,” head coach Jonathan Zimmerman said. “[We are] very blessed to have solid student athletes. They work so hard. Proud to work with them.”
The men’s and women’s cross-country teams will attempt to carry the momentum gained from this past weekend into their next meet this Saturday at the Biola NAIA West Coast Jamboree.