Loewen, Mueller pace Bluejay runners

Freshman Julie Loewen shows the form that led to a 34th-place finish in 16:44.3 at the JK?Gold Classic. She was the sixth KCAC athlete to finish. Phyllis Richert Photo<p>Freshman Julie Loewen shows the form that led to a 34th-place finish in 16:44.3 at the JK?Gold Classic. She was the sixth KCAC athlete to finish.
Freshman Julie Loewen shows the form that led to a 34th-place finish in 16:44.3 at the JK?Gold Classic. She was the sixth KCAC athlete to finish. Phyllis Richert Photo<p>Freshman Julie Loewen shows the form that led to a 34th-place finish in 16:44.3 at the JK?Gold Classic. She was the sixth KCAC athlete to finish.

The heat proved a challenge for the Tabor College cross country teams Saturday in their season-opening races at the JK Gold Classic in Wichita, coach Brian Grime said.

Competing in the women?s 4-k race, Julie Loewen paced the Bluejays by placing 34th among 101 finishers with a time of 16 minutes, 44.3 seconds. She was the sixth KCAC athlete to cross the finish line.

Katey Whitesell came in 40th (16:58.7) and Stacie Bell 94th (20:36.5).

?I am impressed with those who raced today,? Grime said of the women?s team. ?We did not run the entire squad due to some nagging pains, but we hope to be at full strength soon.

?Julie Loewen and Stacie Bell did well considering this was their first collegiate race. Katey Whitesell ran well, but she has a lot more left in the tank. We are definitely looking forward to being at full strength and having everyone on the course.??

Meanwhile, Bret Mueller paced the Tabor men, placing 35th among 105 finishers with a time of 20:41.0 in the 6-k race. He was the fifth KCAC competitor to finish.

Tyler Parrish finished 39th (20:57.9), Si Luc 76th (22:59.0), Josh Richert 94th (24:45.5), Mitchell Graf 100th (25:42.3) and Jared Janzen 105th (30:21.0).

As a team, Tabor finished seventh of nine with a score of 180.

Grime praised the overall effort of the men?s team, saying specifically that Parrish ?had a great race? with which he ?was very impressed.?

?This was a good start for our men, but we have more work to do to accomplish what we want to this season,? Grime said. ?Two of our guys are just coming back from injury, and it was the first collegiate race for three of our runners. We will continue to improve as the season progresses.?

Coming?Tabor will compete at the Terry Masterson Invitational at Prairie Ridge Park in Hutchinson Saturday. The women?s race is set for 10 a.m. The men will run at 10:45 a.m.