Cross country starts strong at Illinois Wesleyan

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams at Monmouth College expect to make a “run” (no pun intended) at the Midwest Conference title. The Scots’ men come into the season ranked 2nd in the conference with one first-place vote. The Monmouth women are ranked 3rd behind Grinnell and St. Norbert, and feature several returning all-conference performers. With a good amount of depth returning on both sides, it looks very possible that the Scots will exceed their number of all-conference performers last year at eight combined. The Scots’ 2019 squad debuted at the Titan Opener last Friday at Illinois Wesleyan University. The women were led by sophomore Arika Hofmann, who placed 6th with a time of 12:42 for the 2-mile course. Three more sophomores, Caroline Young, Ezzie Baltierra-Chavez, and Mik Moore finished 2-4th respectively for the Scots, with all of them in the top 15 overall.

Rounding out the top 7 for Monmouth was juniors Julia Sterr and Kirsten Menke and senior Caitlyn Allen. The men’s side featured numerous records broken on the 5k course. Griff Morrill and Riley Dulin led the way, finishing 2nd and 3rd overall respectively with times of 15:48 and 15:49. This was the closest separation between Monmouth’s 1 and 2 in school history for 5k. Another close separation was between the Scots 3-4, with freshman Shay Hafner and senior Tanner Heiple running 17:00 and 17:02. Also in the top 7 for Monmouth: senior Mike Bersell, freshman Alex Urbina, and sophomore CJ Bonifer. Both the men and women finished 3rd overall for the meet out of six teams. The Scots get a week to focus on training before hitting the road to Grinnell for the 2019 Les Duke Invitational. The gun will sound for the women’s race at 10:00 Saturday, September 14th in Grinnell, Iowa.

Riley Dulin – Sports Editor

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