While the group of Blue Mountain College runners that competed Saturday in the NAIA Cross Country National Championships enjoyed their visit to Vancouver, Wash., they returned to campus determined to return in a year.
“It was a great experience and we were thrilled to be able to compete in the National Championships,” said BMC cross country coach Heather Duley. “At the same time we were able to see the level of competition in the NAIA and to learn just how far we have to go with our program.
“But we improved steadily through the year and we’re only going to continue to get better,” Duley said. “We will get back there.”
Tuesdae Rowland, Emma Baxter and Magan Wilburn competed in the women’s 6K race, while Austin Epting and Richard Feist competed in the men’s 8K race.
Rowland, a junior from Ripley, finished 250 of 331 runners with a time of 20:45; Baxter, a freshman from Kossuth, was 297 with her time of 22:03; and Wilburn, a sophomore from Mooreville, was 303 with her time of 22:21.
Epting, a sophomore from East Union, finished 163 of 326 runners with a time of 27:11; and Feist, a junior from Saltillo, was 261 with his time of 28:15.
Justina Mudy of Shorter University won the women’s championship with a time of 17:42; and Kennedy Kithuka of Wayland Baptist University, won the men’s race with his time of 24:02.
California State San Marcos won the women’s team championship and Southern Oregon won the men’s title.
“It was cold and rainy and muddy,” said Duley.
“The race conditions were very, very slow and very, very difficult, but we enjoyed every minute of it.”