Opening their season at the University of Central Oklahoma Land Run at Edmond Santa Fe High School, two members of the Oklahoma Christian University men’s cross country team placed in the top 10 of a 69-man field Sept. 2.
Senior Sisay Gillock finished the four-mile race in ninth place with a time of 20:51.52. Finishing one second after Gillock, with a time of 20:52.10, senior Kyle Broaddrick placed 10th.
Two Eagles followed Gillock and Broaddrick, placing within the top 25. Junior Evan McQuirk finished 18th with a time of 21:10.97. Coming in at 22nd was sophomore Derek Espinoza, who ran the course in 21.19.07.
Four more Eagles crossed the finish line with times under 23 minutes. Freshman Caleb Bozarth placed 34th. Freshman Colton Meyers finished the race in 37th, followed by sophomore Kelton Reynolds at 39th. Closing out the run for the Eagles was freshman Brady Aderholt, placing 43rd.
As a team, the Eagles placed fourth out of seven teams. Heartland conference opponent Rogers State took the team title with 25 points.
Head Coach Wade Miller said this opening race gives the men some experience for the depth of competition they are going to face in their conference.
“Everybody on the team right now, to the individual, understands that they need to be focused and committed,” Miller said. “If they can have those two things throughout the year, then generally those two things will lead to our best possible performance.”
Running with five sophomores and four freshmen, the Lady Eagles’ cross country team finished 10th out of 12 teams with 282 points at the Land Run.
“Our youth on the women’s side, we’re going to have to overcome that and work through that,” Miller said. “I think the girls we have really want to do that.”
In her first meet since 2015, sophomore Rachel Meyers finished as the top runner for the Lady Eagles. She ran the 5,000-meter course in 20:25.97 and placed 42nd out of a 107-woman field.
Sophomore Kelsey Castillo recorded a time of 20:53.80, coming in at 51st. Placing 74th with a time of 21:46.37 was freshman Karlene Calavaza.
Three more Lady Eagles recorded times below 25 minutes. Sophomore Rylee Rich ran a 21:56.62 to put her in 80th place. Freshman Madison Rutherford finished 82nd at 22:02.51 and sophomore Sydni Lehr closed the race for the Lady Eagles placing 101st with a time of 24:41.26.
“We’ve got two teams that are really working hard,” Miller said. “I can look at our focus and I can feel some momentum building and that’s a lot of fun.”
The next meet for both the men’s and women’s teams will be the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, MO, Sept. 16.
Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information office.