Cross Country

Eagles Finish Strong at NCCAA National Cross Country Meet

Faith Eagles Cross Country 2018
Faith Eagles Cross Country 2018

BRANSON, Missouri--The Faith Eagles Cross Country team competed for the last time this season at College of the Ozarks in Branson, MO for the NCCAA National Cross Country Meet.  If you've ever been to Branson, you can picture the challenging hills the team had to run on!  This was by far the most difficult course the team had faced all year.

Despite the slower than normal times, everyone on the team competed well with a field of strong runners.  The men's race was first, so Ryan Hughes ventured out in the cold 25-degree weather to do a warmup run before the start of his race.  Ryan started out with a fast first mile split of 5:30, and finished 29th out of 48 runners with a time of 33:17 for the 8k race.  This was more than 2 minutes slower than Ryan's time at the previous meet due to the terrain, but Coach Long was pleased with how well Ryan ran against the top Division 2 athletes from across the country.

It had warmed up to almost freezing temperature for the women's race, and all four of the Faith women were ready to face the hills.  Katlyn Holaday got off to a fast start with her best first mile of the season at 6:15, with Chelsea Ratliff close behind at 6:27.  The hills started to take their toll in the second and third miles, but Katlyn and Chelsea kept working hard and finished in the top 15 against some very tough competition from the 48 women runners competing in the Division 2 race!  Katlyn finished with a time of 21:28 for an 11th place finish, and Chelsea completed the 5k course in 21:52 for 14th place.  

Taylor England and Emily Jo Taylor ran well together, pushing one another throughout the race.  They also had their best first mile split of the season in a time of 7:11, and ended up in 30th and 31st place.  Taylor finished with a time of 23:52 and Emily Jo in 23:57.  Those times were faster than their times earlier in the season, despite the much more difficult course!

Coach Long was impressed with all of the Faith runners and was happy to hear everyone praising God together and giving Him the glory for giving them the ability to run.  Coach is looking forward to next season, and will be incorporating more hill workouts into each week of practice to be ready for the Branson hills next time!