By Kaci Mexico
November 21 2015
In the NAIA Cross Country National Championship Race held in Charlotte, North Carolina, out of 36 men’s and women’s teams, the Westmont Women’s and Men’s Cross Country Teams placed tenth and eighteenth respectively. Each team placed higher than the final Top 25 Coaches Poll ranking they held prior to the race – the men jumped from 26 to 18 and the women from 13 to 10.
“We wanted to run as well at nationals as we did at conference and today they actually ran better than they did at conference,” explained head coach Russel Smelley. “We had our best team spreads of the year – under one minute for both teams – and that gave them a good spread towards finishing well. This season has been a process of getting better and working towards running up to their potential and I think today they ran up to their potential which feels really good.”
A team spread is the time difference between the first and fifth runners on a single team. The score of each of the top five runners, out of the seven women and men that run for each team, is combined to create the team total. Thus, a great team spread (a low time) is crucial for overall team success.
In the men’s 8k race, Westmont had a spread of 51 seconds with senior Evan Kramer finishing first for the Warriors at 25 minutes and 52 seconds and sophomore Jacob Grant finishing fifth at 26 minutes and 43 seconds. Finishing second, third, and fourth respectively were sophomore Thomas Hamlin (26:08), freshman Blake Fonda (26:36), and senior Nate Evans (26:36).
In the women’s 5k race, Westmont had a spread of 54 seconds with senior Jessica Meyers finishing first for the Warriors at 18 minutes and 27 seconds and senior Sierra Wallen finishing fifth at 19 minutes and 21 seconds. Finishing second, third, and fourth respectively were junior Kelly Collins (18:38), senior Alexandria Adams (19: 01), and junior Olivia Wood (19:03).