Nine members of the Oklahoma Christian University cross-country team posted career-best times at the Missouri Southern Stampede on Saturday, including three in the men’s 8,000-meter race and six in the women’s 5,000-meter run.
In his first collegiate 8,000-meter race, sophomore Evan McQuirk led the Eagles with an individual finish of 25:02.57, which put him in sixth place in the 203-man field. Junior Sisay Gillock ended the race in 21st with a time of 25:34.69.
“Going into Missouri Southern, I hadn’t had any 8K experience before, so that was still in the back of my mind, but I still felt confident going into it after all of our training,” McQuirk said. “I was very satisfied with the way I was able to finish but knew that a good, single performance does not mean much. As a team, I know we could have done better but I am feeling confident that we can grow from this.”
As for the other Eagles, sophomore Jake Weith finished 54th in 26:32.57; junior Emory Lobley 78th in 26:55.51; freshman Kelton Reynolds finished 80th in 26:58.36; senior Evan Durrill came in 88th in 27:10.91; freshman Derek Espinoza 104th in 27:25.37 and sophomore Trevor Talley finished 119th in 27:37.92.
The Eagles finished the meet seventh out of 18 teams.
Missouri Southern University’s Vincent Kiprop won the race with 23:18.45, while his team earned the title with a score of 50 points, 49 points ahead of the runner-up, Dallas Baptist University.
The Lady Eagles were led by senior Layne Hammer who finished fourth out of the 193-woman field in the race with a personal best time of 17:38.96. The team took sixth place in the meet among the 21 teams that competed.
“I felt good going into the meet, it’s where I had my previous PR,” Hammer said. “It’s a fast course so I knew the team had a lot of potential to do well. We have a strong team this year and it is really exciting to see where we can go from here.”
Hammer’s time of 17:38.96 was second only to Missouri Southern’s Emily Harris, who finished in 17:32.49. The top two finishers, Kelsey Bruce, a former Dallas Baptist Lady Patriot, and Oklahoma Baptist University redshirt runner Abby Hoover, both competed unattached.
Other runners for the Lady Eagles included senior Maci Rich, who placed 33rd overall with a 18:47.16; senior Sarah Cobb with a 52nd finish in 19:18.90; freshman Rylee Rich finished 69th in 19:31.87; freshman Kelsey Castillo 84th in 19:55.91; junior Aubree Hughes placed 154th in 21:30.43 and freshman Sydni Lehr finished 163rd in 22:01.19.
Following the event, Hammer earned the Heartland Conference cross-country runner of the week. She is the first Oklahoma Christian student-athlete to receive a weekly Heartland award for the 2016-17 academic year.
Both Oklahoma Christian teams will run this Saturday morning, at the annual Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, OK.