Tabor men’s and women’s cross-country teams earned fourth-place finishes at the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference meet Saturday at Pomona Lake, hosted by Ottawa University.
The Bluejays also claimed individual honors. Brielle Lund won the women’s race by 25 seconds while Joel Allen took second in the men’s race. Both qualified for the NAIA nationals meet in Vancouver, Wash.
Lund, a junior, and Allen, a sophomore, will return next year as the top conference runners in their respective divisions.
“That’s exciting to know that we have a chance to win individually on both sides there,” coach Dan Swaney said.
Lund paced the Tabor women with a time of 19 minutes, 32 seconds after getting off to a blazing start.
“I didn’t expect Brielle to be out in front that quickly,” Swaney said. “That’s the fastest first mile Brielle has ever run. She maintained her lead and continued to stretch it.
Lund was followed by Ashley Kemling (19th, 21:36), Makenzie King (20th, 21:36), Hannah Holmes (34th, 22:39) and Kaitlyn Duba (48th, 23:37) to round out the Jays’ top five.
Duba is one of three Tabor soccer players who came out to run for the Bluejays. She added the last points needed for the Tabor women to take fourth, as they edge fifth-place Sterling by five points.
“That’s really good, especially not having any distance training behind her,” Swaney said of Duba’s effort. “That helped us out.”
Also running for Tabor were Anna Friesen (55th, 24:35), Kristen Harris (62nd, 25:26) and Yvonne Brubacher (63rd, 25:37).
Allen set the standard for the men with a time of 26:38. He bested Saint Mary runner Caeser Castillo down the final hill after a back-and-forth battle the whole race.
“Joel fought really hard,” Swaney said. “He was running with some good, strong runners.”
Allen’s goal was second-place, Swaney said, and the sophomore knew it would be hard to achieve. But his performance earned him a berth at nationals and all-conference honors.
The Bluejay’s usual No. 2 runner, senior Jacob Heil, was slowed by a cramp in his right side during the third mile. He finished 22nd in 28:25.
“The third mile really affected him,” Swaney said. “I was really hoping he would be able to qualify for nationals again this year.”
Finishing second for Tabor was Garrett Daugherty, who placed 13th overall in 27:36 to give Tabor two all-conference runners on the men’s side.
Also competing for Tabor were Nathan Vogel (30th, 28:53), Paul Williams (38th, 29:36), Bret Mueller (47th, 29:58) and Jonathan Gutierrez (74th, 35:47).
“It was a tough course,” Swaney said. “There were three long hills on the women’s race and five on the men’s. The longest hill was in the last mile of the course. That last section was really tough for the guys.”?
Coming—Tabor runners Joel Allen and Brielle Lund are scheduled to run at the NAIA national meet in Fort Vancouver, Wash., Nov. 17. Races begin at 10:30 a.m.
“They’ve got a shot at being top-50, which sounds pretty low, but this is out of a race of 300-some people,” coach Dan Swaney said.
“They’re capable of being pretty close to the front, so I’m excited to see what they’ll do. I think they have the opportunity to set personal records.”
Allen holds the current Tabor record for the men, while Lund is just two seconds short of the women’s record.
“Despite the difficulty level and the course conditions, you can still run really fast on that course,” Swaney said.