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Goshen Showcases Summer Improvement At IWU Lid-Lifter
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Women's Cross Country - Sat, Sep. 9, 2017

MARION, Ind. — Megan Graber set a new collegiate-best time, three more Goshen College runners missed their personal records by 11 seconds or less, and the Maple Leaf women's cross country team finished fifth at the Indiana Wesleyan University Twilight Classic on the IWU campus Friday night.

A year ago, Goshen finished 11th in a 13-team field at the same event, trailing each of the other six Crossroads League schools that attended. Friday, the team was fifth, squarely in the middle of seven conference institutions. Last fall, the team's second-best runner finished 71st. The Maple Leafs had a runner in that spot again, but this time she was fifth on the team.

Sophomore Chelsea Foster paced the team, taking 19 minutes, 41.5 seconds to finish the five-kilometer (3.11-mile) track. The result got her 24th place and was less than three seconds slower than her fastest time last fall, set on the same course on Nov. 5 at the conference meet.

Freshman Sierra Ross Richer came second, claiming 32nd position in 20:15.1, the second-fastest time by a Goshen runner in her career debut in the last five years. Senior Jill Steinmetz, the team's lone upperclassman, came in 6.3 seconds and two spots behind, improving upon her 2016 mark at the same meet by some 98 seconds or 7.4 percent.

Nora Rangel, who paced Goshen in its season opener last fall, was fourth on the team, while Siana Emery scored team points for the first time since last October 7 by claiming fifth on the team and 71st overall in 21:38.4.

Jenae Stutzman and Graber finished in back-to-back spots and one second apart: Graber's 23:30.2 clocking was 23.4 seconds better than her previous mark set on the same course at the 2016 conference meet and almost two and a half minutes better than last fall's season opener.

Goshen's eighth runner, McKenzie Porter, made her collegiate debut in 24:13.0.

Of the six Maple Leaf runners who finished the Twilight Classic in both of the past two years, four improved their times: all four showed improvement of at least a minute and 17 seconds. The aggregate time of Goshen's top five runners dropped off from 108:02.9 in 2016 to 102:44.0 Friday, working out to a decrease of 63.8 seconds per runner.

The Maple Leafs' top-two, top-three and top-four times all declined from the same event last fall: in all three cases, Goshen's mark Friday would have been the second-best of the five five-kilometer races in 2016. The lone exception was the 2016 conference meet, which marked the first time in nine years that two GC runners broke the 20-minute mark.

Crossroads League teams Taylor, Indiana Wesleyan and Spring Arbor took the top three team positions in that order and accounted for 16 of the 22 collegiate runners ahead of Foster. Ohio Christian's Ariel Arellano-Young was the individual medalist in 18:04.3.

Goshen continues its season Friday afternoon at the Crossroads League preview meet, an event set for the same Northview Church course in Carmel where the conference meet will be held in November. Marian University serves as host for the event, which starts at 3 p.m.

Team: 5. Goshen 153
24. Chelsea Foster 19:41.5
32. Sierra Ross Richer 20:15.1 (collegiate debut)
34. Jill Steinmetz 20:21.4
44. Nora Rangel 20:47.6
71. Siana Emery 21:38.4
95. Jenae Stutzman 23:29.2
96. Megan Graber 23:30.2 (personal record, replacing 23:53.6 at 2016 Crossroads League championship)
McKenzie Porter 24:13.0 (collegiate debut)