Photo by: Henoc Kivuye
Heavy rains and a muddy course could not slow down the Eagles on Saturday, as the team tied for third at the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree cross-country meet.
The race was delayed due to bad weather and heavy rain throughout the morning; the rainfall persisted and waterlogged the course, forcing a soggy run for the racers. Lower temperatures also accompanied the storm, introducing some new elements that have not been seen this season, according to Head Coach for Men’s Cross-Country Wade Miller.
“We had to adjust to the multiple delays and that can be tough mentally,” Miller said. “We talked about trying to race through the uncertain footing and not letting it be a mental drain.”
Oklahoma Christian University runners junior Roberto Diaz and sophomore Bryant Keirns led the Eagles, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Cameron University’s Thomas Toth won the race with a time of 25:16.02. In comparison, the top two Eagle runners, Diaz and Keirns, finished with times of 25:52.52 and 26:05.17.
The race was broken up into two scoring divisions: NCAA Division I schools, and NCAA Division II and other schools, even though runners from both divisions ran in the same race.
Drury University in Missouri took first place in the event, followed by Oklahoma City University in second place and Oklahoma Christian in third.
The Eagles continue the season with two of their top five runners still out due to injury.
Oklahoma Christian had four other runners in the race, finishing 18th, 21st, 32nd and 44th.
Freshman Evan Durrill was the Eagles’ third runner, claiming the 18th place finish with a time of 27:29.26. Following behind him was junior Brennym Kaelin. Sophomore Trent Stephens took 32nd and, rounding out the Eagles squad, senior Nick Stoots claimed 44th.
For the third week in a row, Roberto Diaz took home the Heartland Conference’s men’s runner of the week honor. This is the fourth time that Diaz has won the award in his Oklahoma Christian career; besides the three victories this season, he won the award once his sophomore year.
Since Oklahoma Christian joined the conference in 2012 a member of the Eagles cross-country team has won runner of the week every week.
The Eagles have improved with every meet, winning their first meet of the season in Wichita Falls, Texas. Oklahoma Christian notched a seventh-place finish at the Missouri Southern Stampede meet. Last weekend the Eagles improved their performance to seize fifth place at the Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla.
“It’s hard to chart improvement in cross-country from week-to-week because of a wide range of variables,” Miller said. “Given the conditions I see, most of the performances from our guys are similar or better than last week.”
When asked about the injuries to two of his top runners, freshman Kyle Broaddrick and sophomore Timothy Zuercher, Miller said they will return when they are healthy and ready to race.
Despite being delayed by weather for over two hours, the Lady Eagles still ran a strong race at the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree, taking ninth place.
“It made a tough course even more difficult,” Miller said. “Several of the girls haven’t raced there before so there was quite a bit of uncertainty.”
Freshman Layne Hammer posted an 11th place finish for the Lady Eagles, with a time of 20:00.23.
Another freshman, Maci Rich, finished as Oklahoma Christian’s second runner with a time of 21:12.73.
Sophomore Tara Lewis was the only non-freshman to finish in the Lady Eagle’s top five, coming in as Oklahoma Christian’s third runner. Lewis took 67th overall, with a time of 21:35.76.
Two more freshmen rounded out a young top five for the Lady Eagles. Sarah Cobb and Katie Jones finished 71st and 72nd with times of 21:42.74 and 21:44.24, respectively.
“They have a lot of energy and excitement and have created a very positive atmosphere,” Miller said.
Both the Eagles and Lady Eagles will both be in action again on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Ark.
This race, like last weekend’s, will feature NCAA Division I and II teams running in the same races. Although the teams are not scored in the same divisions, runners get to measure themselves against some of the best competition in the nation.
Both Oklahoma Christian teams have three more races before they head to Cedarville, Ohio for the NCCAA championships.