Cross Country teams finish in top 20 at Regional Meet — deer knocks runner out of competition

Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College website. First-year Sarah Rinehart (right) earned Freshman All-Region honors as the seventh first-year to finish the race.

Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College website. First-year Sarah Rinehart (right) earned Freshman All-Region honors as the seventh first-year to finish the race.

By Elizabeth Hilfrank, Staff Writer

The men’s and women’s cross country teams finished their three-month season on Saturday at the NCAA Mid-East Regional Meet held at Big Spring High School in Newville, PA.

The men finished nineteenth among fifty-two teams. The women finished fourteenth out of fifty teams, respectively.

Junior Ben Taber led the men’s team, finishing twenty-eighth out of 371 runners with a time of 26:08. His placement in the top thirty-five earned him all-region honors. He was the first Bullet in seventeen years to gain this title.

“It was great to see Ben, who has had a great year, get a medal,” said senior captain Nate Cody.

Cody clocked a 27:51 in the race, granting him 126th place. Just a second behind him was senior Paul Eppler. There was a three-minute spread amongst the seven runners.

“We left everything out there,” said Cody. “I am proud of the effort our team gave this year.”

First-year Alex Petrecca also contributed to the team’s placement. With a time of 28:20 he finished in 164th place.

“I thought we raced really well as a team,” said Petrecca. “We packed up very well and worked together.”

Four men of the regionals team will graduate this year.

“We had a great season but we are really going to miss the seniors that are leaving this year,” said Petrecca.

The lady Bullets had a 2:30 minute split from the first to seventh runners.

“I really thought that we were able to utilize the pack today to push each other throughout,” said senior Julie Laudenschlager. “It was a tough course with some pretty windy conditions, but I felt that we rose to the occasion and put out our best effort.”

Laudenschlager clocked a 23:56, earning her 76th place out of a competition of 365. She finished third for the team, followed by junior Laura Duquette with a 24:10.

First-year Sarah Rhinehart finished second for the team with a placement 65th. Her 23:44 finish positioned her as the seventh fastest freshman in the race. Rhinehart was awarded a spot on the Freshman All-Region team for this accomplishment.

The Freshman All-Region team consists of the top seven fastest freshmen runners in the competition.

With the strong rise of underclassmen, some of the strongest upperclassmen will leave. The women’s regionals team will lose two of its members to graduation this year.

“It’s been a fantastic experience running for this team the past few years and I was glad to finish my cross country career with a good race and alongside some of my favorite people,” said senior Katie Burns.

Burns finished sixth for the team with a time of 24:52.

The women’s race had some unexpected obstacles. About 4000 meters into the race, two deer, at separate times, jumped out of the woods. They were swift and ran across the twisting hill of the course oblivious to those around them.

The first charged towards a pack of three runners. While two runners jumped out of the way, a third was not as lucky.

The deer hit the woman head-on into her side. She tumbled across the dirt and burst into sobs while the other runners notified coaches up ahead. The runner went to the hospital. No further updates are available at this time.

In the other instance, around the same location, a deer jumped from the woods, and hit the leg of one runner. The woman then hit another runner from the impact. Both women were able to finish the race.

The Bullet runners now enjoy a calming period of rest. Those who will continue to compete in track and field will join the team at the start of the second semester.

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