GOSHEN, Ind. – The 2012 season is officially underway for the Goshen College men's and women's cross country teams. The Maple Leafs hosted their 8th Annual Goshen Hokum Karem on Saturday.
The men - receiving votes in the NAIA preseason national poll - easily won the men's side, logging the second, third, and fourth fastest pairings, tallying just nine points. A team composed of Goshen College alumni placed second with 16 points, while Grace College came in with 20 points.
The event has runners partner up and trade one mile segments (women trade 1,000 meter lengths). Each runner tallies a total of five miles (men) or 5,000 meters (women) for a total team length of 10 miles or 10,000 meters.
"The men's team showed a strong performance with three pairs leading the way," said eighth-year head coach Doug Yoder. "There were also others further back that also performed very well. This helps up see the great team depth that we have and how as we work as a team, we can accomplish great things."
A pair of alumni, Jake Gillette and David Rumsey, won the individual title, running the course in 51:31. The tandem of juniors Tijs Buskermolen and Andrew Witkowski also had a strong run, finishing seventh overall in 55:36.
On the women's side, freshman Cynthia Median and sophomore Ali Hochstetler finished second overall in 38:26 to lead the Maple Leafs to a second-place finish overall. The Leafs tallied 12 points total with Grace taking the team title with just nine points.
"The women's team showed great team depth even though they not win overall," Yoder explained. "In a different format, they would have had a strong pack and placed well. The pair of Medina and Hochstetler showed their expected potential and will provide leadership for us throughout the season."
Four more Goshen pairs competed, all finishing in the top 12 of 16 teams.
"Many of our first-year runners also showed great performances and poise in their first collegiate outing," Yoder added. "We are looking forward to competing next week in a regular race format and will definitely improve as the season progresses."
The Maple Leafs first traditional meet is next Saturday when they travel to the Grace College Invitational.