Women’s cross country records fastest time in BU history

Story by Megan Henry

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Although the Baker University women’s cross country team finished in second place overall Saturday, it came home with more than just a plaque. The team set a new school record for the fastest team 5,000-meter run time in school history.

The women’s team finished with an average time of 18:43 and a total team time of 1:33:39 on Saturday at the Southern Stampede Invitational in Joplin, Mo.

In spite of finishing behind Columbia College, the women beat out their Heart of America Athletic Conference rival Central Methodist University.

“I think coach was a little bit more excited (about breaking the school record),” senior Megan Rosa said. “But we were excited we beat our rival in the conference. They’ve won the conference title two years in a row and we’ve gotten second, so we were really excited to beat them.”

Columbia and Baker were the only two schools on the women’s side to bring home a plaque from the Southern Stampede.

“It’s been something we’ve been shooting for for the past four years and it’s exciting to bring home some hardware from that meet,” Rosa said.

Along with Rosa, the top five finishers for the Wildcats included freshman Jillian Benson, junior Kerry Kurta and seniors Lauren Jaqua and Ashley McBride. Each of their final scores went toward the team average. Jaqua and Rosa finished in the top 10 overall while the other three finished within the top 35.

“Everyone raced really well,” Rosa said. “Some of our freshman girls stepped up and our upperclassmen had some great races. It was nice to see two individuals in the top 10.”

The Southern Stampede Invitational was the women’s first 5,000-meter run this season and the first 8,000-meter run for the BU men’s cross country team.

The men’s team finished in seventh place overall with an average time of 27:30. Junior Vincent Tadokoro and freshman Corey Matteson both finished in the top 30.

“This meet specifically is a good meet to get people used to the distance,” Rosa said. “Right now we’re in this period where we have races every weekend, so the race isn’t only a race, but part of our training and helps up get prepared for bigger races like conference.”

Both teams will compete for the fourth time this season on Friday at the Emporia State Invitational.