The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Cross Country teams traveled to Rio Grande, Ohio this past weekend to compete in the Mid-South Conference (MSC) Championship race. The Cumberland men competed in the 8K event while the women's team competed in the 5K event. Both the men and women made phenomenal efforts to beat the team of Shawnee State, but each of the Patriots' teams took the runner-up finish.
The first race of the day was the women's 5K event. The Patriot ladies took off at 10:15 A.M. and had a strong race. UC was led by junior Danielle Hoop (Owenton, KY) who finished in 2nd place out of 71 girls running a time of 18:29, only losing the conference title by two seconds to Shawnee State's Sarah Biehl. Hoop ran an 18:46 at the MSC Championships last year on this same course where she also got 2nd place. Hoop was followed by her freshman teammate Madison Peace (Walton, KY). Peace raced herself to a 7th place finish at her first MSC championships with a time of 19:40. Peace was also named the MSC Freshman Runner of the Year for her phenomenal finish and season. To finish third for the Patriot ladies was Meg McGaha (Beavercreek, OH). McGaha has had an impressive comeback of a season. By doing so, she raced to a 12th place finish breaking 20 minutes running a 19:59. Sydney Freeman (Corbin, KY), who was only three spots behind Meg, came in at 15th place running an amazing time of 20:13. This was another Patriot with a remarkable season.
Next to cross the line for the Patriots was Maureen McGaha (Beavercreek, OH) who placed right behind Freeman in 16th place with a time of 20:20. Rounding out the top seven for UC was Shelby Gibbons (Hamersville, OH) who ran a time of 21:14 finishing in 25th place, and Annmarie Lake (Mason, OH) running only milliseconds behind Gibbons also at 21:14 in 26th place. The next two finishers on the team for the ladies was senior Christine Moon (Sardinia, OH) and Bonnie Nutt (Phillips, WI) who both finished strong running times of 22:14 and 22:18, respectively, capturing 36th and 38th place. Moon has had an amazing career here at University of the Cumberlands and will be the only graduating senior out of both the men's and women's teams. To finish up for the Patriots, junior Brittany Bloyd (Louisville, KY) came in 52nd running a time of 24 minutes and 33 seconds. Bonnie Nutt was named the 2013 Women's Cross Country Champion of Character.
The women's team placed 2nd overall out of 9 competing teams. The ladies scored a total of 50 points with a team average time of 19:44.
The second race to compete for the day was the men's 8K which started at 11:00 AM. First to the finish for the Patriot men was Jonathan Gears (Andover, OH), who ran a time of 26:30 and captured a top ten finish at 5th overall out of 98 other men in the 8K event. Freshman Stephen Sartoris (Dayton, OH) had an impressive 8K race by coming in at 26:53, also capturing a top ten finish at 8th place. Sartoris was named the 2013 MSC Freshman Runner of the Year. Another freshman who has definitely proved his potential was Sam Beal (Beavercreek, OH), running 27:03 coming in right behind Sartoris with a 9th place finish.
Sophomore Sam Meredith (Louisville, KY) ran a 27:09 and finished in 11th place. Donald Whyte (Miamisburg, OH) came across the line fifth for the Patriots by running a time of 27:30 for a 13th place finish. To finish out the top seven on the team, junior Eric Phillips (New Castle, KY) crossed the finish line in 28th at 28:31. Another freshman eagerly earned a top finish on the men's side as Cory Heslin (Louisville, KY) finishing 30th running a time of 28:38.
The men's team placed 2nd overall out of 10 other competing teams. The University of the Cumberlands scored a total of 46 points and had a team average time of 27:01.
The MSC also recognized the student-athletes who earned Academic All-Conference honors. In order to be nominated by an institution, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved at least sophomore academic status. Juniors Donald Whyte, Brittany Bloyd, Shelby Gibbons, Danielle Hoop, and sophomore Chris O'Dell, and all earned this elite honor.
Gears, Sartoris, and Beal all qualified individually for the NAIA National Championships while Hoop, Peace, and Meg McGaha qualified for the women. Those individuals will compete in Lawrence, KS on November 23, 2013.
For more information on the Patriots cross country team or other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.