RIO GRANDE, OH - Saturday afternoon was a day that will go down in the history books for the Ohio Christian University cross country program. Not only did the women's team excel on the track, but the men would also put together one of their best races in school history to win their first ever competition as a team. The race would be on a hot fall day, with temperatures nearing 90 degrees.
On the women's side, the team would focus on the younger section of the roster, as team leader Ariel Young would be held out as she prepares for the All-Ohio next weekend. Despite missing Young, the Lady Trailblazers would step up nicely, finishing in 3rd place out of 6 total teams with a time of 1:58:08. The women would be led by Raven Arellano, who would finish in 1st place overall with a time of 19:43.58. The rest of the team's scores would consist of Alyssa Turrentine (6th - 22:26.61), Kara Bandy (17th - 24:31.80), McKenzie Ray (18th - 24:42.10), Lauryn Rutan (23rd - 26:44.82), Rebekah McCarty (24th - 27:14.09), Shelby Spencer (26th - 28:41.77), and Sara Stewart (27th - 29:17.97).
For the men, the heat would not provide an excuse to not run a quality race. Led by team leader Kyle Benecke, the Trailblazers would finish in 1st overall place out of three teams with a time of 2:28.46. Benecke would finish in 3rd overall place individually with a time of 28:14.70. The rest of the Trailblazers would consist of Canaan Gardner (5th - 28:34.70), Joel Rodgers (11th - 30:15.00), Noah Davis (13th - 30:35.90), Hayden Mink (15th - 31:05.80), and Dylan Newton (20th - 32:26.90).
"It was a big day today for both programs," said Head Coach Eric Hamner. "The men's program was able to win their first ever invitational, beating the top ranked team within the RSC. They ran smart and competed hard to the finish line. It was a complete team effort that required some young guys to step up, and they did so perfectly. For the women, we decided to rest four of our runners to help recover from injuries and illnesses. The women that did run fought hard and finished with some impressive performances. Raven ran a great race for the win against some good competition. I am proud of how they performed and we are certainly looking forward to having everyone back in uniform so we can fire on all cylinders."
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