2016 SLIAC Cross Country Championship Preview

2016 SLIAC Cross Country Championship Preview

At A Glance
The 2016 SLIAC Men's and Women's Cross Country Championship is set for this weekend on Saturday, October 29th at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky. Eight conference institutions will be sending their student-athletes to compete in the 27th Cross Country Championship in conference history. Schools in the race field include Blackburn College, Eureka College, Fontbonne University, Greenville College, Principia College, Spalding University, Webster University, and Westminster College. The men's race will start at 10 a.m. (Eastern Time) while the women's race is set for a 10:45 a.m. start. (Eastern Time)

Men's 8K Course - MAP
Women's 6K Course - MAP

Men's Race Preview
The men's race will feature five of the top ten finishers from last year's race. Last year's individual champion, Spalding's Brandon Price, will be looking to become the first runner to repeat since Abram Deng, also from Spalding, repeated in 2011 and 2012. Price won last year's race with a time of 25:22, edging out the second place finisher by just four seconds in the second closest finish in championship history. Also back in this year's field are third place finisher Principia's Zach Matthiesen, Webster's Riley Flynn (8th), Westminster's Glenn Teubner (9th), and Greenville's Nathan Potts (10th). The Spalding men's team will be looking to defend their SLIAC title for a third straight year and become the first program to win three straight titles since Greenville won 10 straight from 1998-2007.

Women's Race Preview
The women's race should be a competitive one with six of the top ten finishers from last year's race once again in the field. Last year's race had all ten finishers within 47 seconds of each other. The team finish last year was also the closest in SLIAC history with Spalding edging Greenville by one point. Webster's Valerie Martin returns after taking home the individual title last year, becoming just the second Gorlok to achieve that feat in program history. Teammates Holly Goergen, who finished fourth last year, returns as does Meghan Illig, who finished 6th. Spalding's Jenna Johnston, who placed 5th last year, returns to the championship field as does Greenville's Brooke Goodyear (7th) and Westminster's Jessie Kuykendall (10th).

BLACKBURN COLLEGE 'BEAVERS'

Tim Lacy, a junior, has led the Beavers this season with four top team finishes. His best performance came on September 30th when he finished the 8K course in a time of 28:08. Lacy will be looking to improve upon his 30th place finish at last year's championship. On the women's side freshman Taylor Towery had three top finishes including a best time of 29:05.

 

EUREKA COLLEGE 'RED DEVILS'

The Red Devils men's team has been paced by Brandon Ceh this fall. Ceh has four top finishes including a best time of 31:20. Justin Briante also grabbed the top spot for the Red Devils in a race earlier this fall. Ceh finished 42nd individually last fall at the championships. On the women's side Riley Francis, a sophomore, continues to be the top performer for Eureka with four top finishes and a best time of 29:07 and will be looking to improve upon her 42nd place finish from last year's meet.

FONTBONNE UNIVERSITY 'GRIFFINS'

Chris Graham and Austin Lawrence have taken turns as top finishers for the Griffins this fall with Lawrence crossing the finish line first in two meets. On the women's side Jennie Stare has two top finishes while Sarah Rhoads has the best time for a Griffin this fall with a mark of 31:09. Stare was the top women's Griffin finisher at the championships last season, placing 33rd while Graham finished 65th on the men's side.

GREENVILLE COLLEGE 'PANTHERS'

The Panthers will look to the duo of Jacob Burrell and Nathan Potts to put them in the top team groupings. Burrell had three top finishes this fall, with a team best time of 26:02, while Potts paced the Panthers twice this fall at meets. The duo finished 10th (Potts) and 11th (Burrell) respectively. The women's team is led by Brooke Goodyear, three top finishes, and Lia Kruse, two top finishes. Both ladies have hovered around the 23-minute mark with Kruse having team best time of 23:04 this fall. Goodyear was the top finisher at the championships last year for Greenville, placing 7th.
 

PRINCIPIA COLLEGE 'PANTHERS'

Zach Matthiesen has been a consistent force for the Panthers this fall, decreasing his times in each of the last three races including a best time of 25:37 in his last race. Nate Richards, who did not race last year, returned this fall and is a threat as well having won the 2014 individual title. On the women's side Allegra Pierce was the top Panther finisher in every race this year. Pierce's best time was 26:36 this fall, cutting off over two minutes on her time from the start of the season. She placed 23rd at last year's championship.
 

SPALDING UNIVERSITY 'GOLDEN EAGLES'

Spalding's hopes of defending their titles rely on the one-two men's punch of Brandon Price and Parker Bettag. Price, the reigning SLIAC champion, had a best time this fall of 27:44 with Bettag just off his pace at 27:47. On the women's side it has been freshman Kelsey Phillips who has guided the Golden Eagles this fall. Phillips has three top team finishes with a best time of 25:41. Jenna Johnstone, who finished fifth overall last year, has the experience necessary to challenge for a top ten spot.

 

WEBSTER UNIVERSITY 'GORLOKS'

Webster's Riley Flynn should be a challenger for a top spot on the men's side. Flynn, a junior, paced the Gorloks this fall and finished with a best time of 26:54. He will be looking to improve upon his 8th place finish from last year's meet. The women's team should challenge as well with strong seasons from Holly Goergen, Meghan Illig, and Valerie Martin. All three have run around the 25-minute mark with Illig putting together a 24:26 race earlier this season. Martin is the defending SLIAC champion while Goergen finished 4th last fall and Illig 6th.
 

WESTMINSTER COLLEGE 'BLUE JAYS'

Westminster will look to Glenn Teubner and Jessie Kuykendall to pace their respective teams. Teubner, a senior, finished 9th last year and has progressively lowered his times this fall from week to week culminating with a best of 26:16 in his last race. Kuykendall, a sophomore, turned in a dominant fall season with four conference Player of the Week awards and put together a personal best time of 23:02. After gaining experience at last year's meet, finishing 10th, Kuykendall is one of the favorites this fall.

Championship Notes

  • Spalding University swept the men's and women's titles last year with the men's team winning their third championship in program history and the women's team capturing their first title.
  • Greenville College holds the men's record for cross country championships with 12, last winning in 2010.
  • Greenville also holds the women's record for most titles with 15, their last coming in 2014.
  • Only four current men's programs have won a championship. Joining Greenville and Spalding are Fontbonne University and Principia College. Maryville also captured a conference title before leaving.
  • Six different women's programs have won a title. Along with Greenville and Spalding are Maryville University, Principia College, Webster University, and Westminster College.
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