Cross country finishes top 20 at Chile Pepper Festival

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

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The men’s and women’s cross country teams ran in the University of Arkansas Chile Pepper Festival on Saturday in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The men’s team ran with its classification of runners as well as 20 NCAA Division I schools in the 8,000-meter run. The men finished 15th out of the 27 smaller college teams, and some Wildcat runners finished ahead of runners from Kansas State University, Texas Christian University and Louisiana State University.

Junior Gunnar Hays led the way for Baker with his 212th place finish, which was good enough for 80 points. Hays ended with a time of 26:58.

Close behind Hays was sophomore Jamie Stuery with a time of 27:04. Stuery took 224th overall.

Sophomore Corey Matteson finished in 232nd, just five seconds behind Stuery.

Senior Vinny Tadokoro finished fourth best on the team with his time of 27:37 and 273rd overall. Freshman Joe Linder finished six seconds behind Tadokoro for 280th place.

Oklahoma City University won the men’s smaller college division. The University of Sioux Falls and Missouri Southern State University rounded out the top three.

The women finished 16th out of 25 smaller schools in its 5,000-meter race.

Two Baker runners were able to crack the Top 200. Freshman Sarah Hollis and sophomore Rachel Ash finished four seconds apart with Hollis barely edging Ash for 177th place with a time of 19:04. Ash finished in 180th place.

Sophomore Jillian Benson wrapped up her day in 219th with a time of 19:29. Freshmen Autumn Sifuentes and Brenda McCollum were the only other BU women runners to crack the top 300 with Sifuentes in 297th and a time of 20:23. and McCollum coming in at No. 300.

Missouri Southern State, Oklahoma City and Harding University were the top three teams, respectively. Baker finished just ahead of the NCAA Division II schools University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and Lindenwood University.

The men and women will be back in action this Saturday in the pre-nationals meet at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence. The women’s team finished in 10th place and the men in 22nd at pre-nationals last season.