Eight members of the Oklahoma Christian University men and women’s cross country teams posted top-25 performances as the teams kicked off the 2016 season with the UCO Land Run at Edmond Santa Fe High School on Saturday morning.
The Eagles finished second in the meet with 48 points, behind Heartland Conference rival Rogers State University, who scored 54 points.
Juniors Sisay Gillock, who placed third with a time of 20:16.3, and Evan McQuirk, who finished fourth with a time of 20:21.4, led the Eagles to the second place finish. It was McQuirk’s first official collegiate meet due to battling injuries over the past two seasons.
“I was held out with an ankle injury the first year and a stress fracture the second season, so being able to finally get out and compete is just such a blessing,” McQuirk said. “To be able to compete without some of our guys who are going to be back will hopefully help us gel together for the rest of the season.”
Despite losing to Rogers State, the Eagles managed to beat NAIA power Oklahoma City University, who finished third with a score of 56.
Following the top two finishers for the Eagles were sophomore Jack Weith, who finished 14th in 21:21.0, junior Emory Lobley with a 21:26.1 and senior Evan Durrill with a 21:29.3.
Freshman Derek Espinoza and sophomore Trevor Talley wrapped up Oklahoma Christian’s top seven by placing 24th in 21:53.1 and 26th in 21:56.8, respectively.
The other four Eagles that ran were freshman Kelton Reynolds (28th place in 22:02.6), Nathan Jennings (41st place in 22:36.8), Bailey Bach (51st place in 23:58.4) and senior Nathan Giles (54th place in 24:38.8.)
The Lady Eagles finished fourth in their first meet of the season with 108 points, behind Oklahoma Baptist University (34 points), Oklahoma City University (61 points) and Midwestern State University (66 points.)
Senior Layne Hammer finished second overall individually, posting a time of 18:26.6, just 12 seconds off of her personal best time.
Another pair of seniors, Maci Rich and Sarah Cobb, placed 13th and 25th in the 111-woman field with times of 19:30.9 and 20:03.4, respectively.
The Lady Eagles’ Kelsey Castillo placed 34th with a time of 20:11.2, while Rylee Rich placed 39th with a time of 20:19.2 and Sydni Lehr 97th with a time of 22:53.3.
Senior Katie Jones placed 67th with a time of 21:25.3, while junior Aubree Hughes was 91st with a time of 22:28.8.
Both teams will race in the Missouri Southern Stampeded in Joplin, Mo. on Sept. 17. The Lady Eagles will race at 8:30 a.m. with the Eagles following at 9:45 a.m.
Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information office.