MARION, IN - The Ohio Christian University Cross Country program headed off to Indiana Wesleyan on Friday morning hoping to continually gain momentum within the NAIA. Facing a tough group of competing universities, both the men and women would be led by an experiened group of returners that is no stranger to the big stage.
On the women's side, Ariel Young would continue her stretch of dominance reaching all the way back to last season. Young would win the 5,000 meter race, finishing with a time of 18:04.3, exactly seven seconds faster than second place. Raven Arellano, Ariel Young's sister, would also run well, finishing in eight overall with a time of 18:55.8. The rest of the Lady Trailblazers' scoring times would include Alyssa Turrentine (18th - 19:27.0), Madigan Marshall (56th - 21:11.2), Monica Winter (68th - 21:29.5), Lauryn Rutan (74th - 21:51.1), and Kara Paredes (83rd - 22:35.1). Overall, the Lady Trailblazers would finish in 4th place out of 9 total teams with a time of 1:39:07. Taylor University would finish in 1st place with a time of 1:34:01.
For the men, Junior Kyle Benecke would lead the way for the team. Benecke would finish the 8,000 meter race in a time of 26:19.3, putting him in 5th place overall. Canaan Gardner would also continue to run well, finishing in 13th place overall with a time of 26:41.9. The rest of the Trailblazers' scoring times would include Hayden Mink (43rd - 27:49.3), Noah Davis (57th - 28:23.1), Joel Rodgers (60th - 28:29.5), Dylan Newton (75th - 29:26.9), and Allen Sherrick (112th - 38:15.8). Overall, the Trailblazers would finish in 6th place out of 9 total teams with a time of 2:17:42. Taylor University would also take home the men's title with a time of 2:10:37.
"It was a humbling experience this weekend as we went up against some very good competition," said Head Coach Eric Hamner. "Ariel ran yet another great race and Kyle had one of the best races of his career to finish in fifth. The team was exposed to what a great team looks like firsthand, and now we have a much better understanding of how much work still needs done. I am very proud of this team, and this race was a great learning experience."
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