Leafs News
Underclassmen Take Top Five Spots, Leafs Claim Third In Opener
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Men's Cross Country - Sat, Sep. 9, 2017

MARION, Ind. — The Goshen College men's cross country team started its 2017 season with youthful flair Friday night at Indiana Wesleyan University as freshmen or sophomores filled each of the team's first five spots in a third-place finish at the IWU Twilight Classic.

Steven Cranston, the lone returning Maple Leaf to earn all-conference honors a season ago, paced the team with a sixth-place finish in 26 minutes, 21 seconds for the eight-kilometer (4.97-mile) loop on the IWU campus. GC alternated sophomores and freshmen in the first five spots: Cranston's classmates, Juan Perez and Ryan Haggerty, were third and fifth on the team respectively, and freshmen Quinton Read and Salvador Escamilla took second and fourth.

More than simply being young, the Maple Leafs' top five was condensed (eight spots and 17 seconds separated the second and fifth runners) and fast (all five finished in the top 35, a year after Goshen's fifth runner was 44th at the same event). Haggerty set a new personal record with a 27:29.0 clocking, a mark that was 81.4 seconds faster than his previous best and 51.7 seconds better than Daniel Klink ran at the same spot in the same event a season ago.

Read and Perez both posted top-30 performances to open the season, finishing 1.3 seconds apart in 27th and 29th positions respectively. Escamilla trailed that duo by 2.2 seconds, posting a 27:15.5 time.

Isaiah Friesen and Benjamin Wiebe rounded out the top seven Goshen positions, the latter two spots of which do not factor into the Maple Leafs' team score but do create separation before later runners in the team standings. Wiebe missed breaking 28 minutes in his collegiate debut by less than one-fourth of a second.

A quintet of Goshen runners made their collegiate debuts in the event, which saw eight of Goshen's top 10 spots filled by runners in their first or second years of college cross country.

Sophomore Max Burkholder also ran a personal-best time, finishing in 29:08.4 to claim ninth on the team and shave 60.1 seconds off his personal record.

While Haggerty and Burkholder were the only returning Leafs to set new bests for their entire career, of the seven GC runners who finished the same race last year, five improved their times. Haggerty showed the largest improvement by that measure as well, knocking more than 2:45 off his mark and improving his overall finish by 59 positions.

The Maple Leafs improved their cumulative top-three, top-four and top-five times from the same meet a season ago, with the latter dropping by a minute and 55 seconds for an average of 23 seconds per runner.

Taylor University claimed top honors in the team race with 26 points, including three of the top four runners. The Maple Leafs also trailed the hosts, but finished ahead of four other conference opponents.

Goshen continues its season on Friday, albeit at a different meet than originally scheduled. Rather than visiting Purdue University for the Indiana Intercollegiate Championships, the team will head to Northview Church in Carmel for the Crossroads League preview meet on the same course that will host the conference championship on Nov. 4. The gun will sound to start the men's race at 3:45 p.m.

Team: 3. Goshen 103
6. Steven Cranston 26:21.0
27. Quinton Read 27:12.0 (collegiate debut)
29. Juan Perez 27:13.3
33. Salvador Escamilla 27:15.5 (collegiate debut)
35. Ryan Haggerty 27:29.0 (personal record, replacing 28:50.40 at 2016 Great Lakes Challenge)
40. Isaiah Friesen 27:41.9
50. Benjamin Wiebe 28:00.2 (collegiate debut)
Brenner Burkholder 28:17.6
Max Burkholder 29:08.4 (personal record, replacing 30:08.50 at 2016 Great Lakes Challenge)
Brandon Roe 29:55.2 (collegiate debut)
Alex Steiner 31:36.6
Irving Suarez 32:06.1 (collegiate debut)
Delphin Monga 32:40.5