Cross Country teams win Maple Leaf Invite

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Cross Country teams win Maple Leaf Invite

Story by Sara

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After sweeping the Maple Leaf Invitational in 2011, the Baker University cross country teams struck again Saturday as both the men’s and women’s teams began their seasons with first place finishes at the Baldwin Golf Course.

In the 5,000-meter race, members of the No. 25 ranked BU men’s team claimed the top four times.

Freshman Jeremy Bryan won the individual title with a time of 16:13 during his college debut; an experience, which he said was “incredible.”

“It was pretty funny because it was actually a parallel of my first race in high school,” Bryan said. “My first race in high school was a (junior varsity) race, and I actually won it. It was a very rainy day, much like the Maple Leaf. So it was kind of déjà vu, which was really neat.”

Senior Aaron Caldwell, freshman Justin Bryan and senior Eric Larson packed together and finished with times of 16:23, 16:35 and 16:36, respectively.

Senior Taylor Nall placed 16th and sophomore Vincent Tadokoro came in 25th, rounding out the top 25 for the Wildcats.

With six returning seniors and a strong freshmen recruiting class, head coach Zach Kindler is excited to see what the team can accomplish this season.

“We return a team that’s probably stronger than we have been ever before,” Kindler said. “As long as we go out and do what we are capable of doing, then we’re going to be in a great position to win a conference title at the end of the season.”

For the second consecutive year, junior Lauren Jaqua won the women’s 4,000-meter race. Jaqua ran a time of 15:07, which is the third best overall time on the course.

Six of the seven runners on the women’s team placed in the top 20, which helped lead the Wildcats to a first place finish.

Sophomore Kerry Kurta, juniors Ashley McBride and Megan Rosa, senior Lindsey Brown and junior Jenna Stanbrough joined Jaqua in the meet’s top runners.

Kurta and McBride rounded out the top 10 for the Wildcats with seventh and tenth-place finishes respectively.

With these finishes, Jaqua said she has learned when the team sets a goal, like winning the Maple Leaf Invitational, they “normally can attain it.”

“If we say we are going to do something, we are going to do it,” Jaqua said. “I think that is a characteristic of our team that we are going to carry over into (the conference meet) when we face Central Methodist for the title.”