By Rochelle Black
CEDARVILLE, Ohio --In their first year as a Division II school, Shorter's Hawk and Lady Hawk harriers competed in the NCCAA Cross Country National Championships. The meet, hosted by Cedarville University, the 15th ranked team in the latest NCAA D2 rankings, saw over 500 men and women run the grueling Ohio course, including five men and five women from Shorter.
On the women's side, Shea Spicher, the "unofficial" winner of the Gulf south Conference Championships, and the number one runner on the Lady Hawks distance team, place seventh.
Her time of 18:25 paced the team to a 13th place in the team competition. Ashley Logan (55th), Katie Rutledge (98th), Hannah Turner (105th), and Breiona Badie (167th) gave shorter an average team time of 20:23. Azusa Pacific, no stranger to Shorter as they won last year's Director's Cup, won the team competition. As both teams are new to the NCAA, they are not eligible to compete for NCAA championships during this transition season.
When asked about the ladies' performance, Coach Martin Hernandez was beaming with the results. "The girls ran great. We came back with an All American in Shea. The course was challenging, but she pulled through like a champ."
The men brought back two All Americans, as both Carlos Perez and Daniel Sorenson took home honors in their first, and final, cross country championship. While Sorenson has been the top runner on the team this season, it was Perez, the number two runner, who crossed as the first Hawk. Perez' time of 25:12 on the 8k course was good enough for 3rd overall. Sorenson was three spots behind, finishing in 25:22.
"I wish I had one more year with these two guys, but they finished with an All American award, so that's nothing to hold your head down about.", commented Hernandez about his two seniors.
Evans Tanui (34th), Cory Cown (72nd), and Derek Douglas (212th) rounded out the team, completing the course in an average time of 27:28. The winning team, Oklahoma Christian University, won last year's NAIA championship.
Director of Track and Field/Cross Country, Scott Byrd, always the loudest fan of the team, talked about how this was a great milestone in the team's history. "The girls all showed growth in their performances. I saw a lot of good competitors there, and our ladies didn't falter. That's a testament to what Coach Hernandez has done over this season." His thoughts on the men were equally high, "if this showing here tells me anything about the upcoming track season, it tells me that we are going to have some great times this year. We're working as a team, and that's what we've preached all along."
The attention now shifts to the track, as both the men and women of Shorter will now focus on running on the rubber oval. The team's first meet starts December 1st in Birmingham, Alabama.