Lauren Jaqua breaks school records

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Not only did sophomore Lauren Jaqua finish second and set a new personal record at the Mid States Classics Saturday in Winfield, but she also broke the Baker University women’s cross country 5k record.

Jaqua finished with a time of 18:09:01 and finished as the runner up among 172 other runners.

“(Jaqua) made a big jump this year and definitely has put in a lot of hard work,” head coach Zach Kindler said. “So, it’s exciting to see where she is at right now… and it’s always helpful to have a front-runner like her out there.”

The Heart of America Athletic Conference also named Jaqua the Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for the conference for the third time this season.

Sophomore Ashley McBride finished 20th overall and helped the ‘Cats to a seventh place finish.

Junior Aaron Caldwell led the way for the men in the 8k with a time of 25:55.56, a personal best for Caldwell.

“In the first half mile my left shoe came untied, and I was actually having to fight to keep it on the entire time,” Caldwell said. “I actually lost probably about a good 20 seconds, and I was only 10 seconds off the school record, so it was kind of frustrating.”

Caldwell finished 20th overall, while juniors Corey Clark and Eric Larson also ran in the top 30 with 25th and 28th place finishes, respectively.

“I think that both sides are really starting to come together and really starting to hit the strides of where they need to be at right now,” Kindler said. “We will continue to progress over the next few weeks and go after the conference title.”

The women will look to defend their title Nov. 5 at the HAAC Championships in Fayette, Mo., while the men try to overtake Graceland University, which won the 2010 HAAC title.

“We definitely have a great opportunity on both sides (to win the conference title),” Kindler said. “The ladies have been No. 1 all year and the guys have been No. 1 or No. 2 all year, so our expectations are to win both sides.”

Junior Dana Loveland said sophomore Megan Rosa, who is out for the remainder of the season with a stress fracture, was a ‘crucial part’ in the team’s success.

“With (Rosa) gone we are each going to have to step up more to reach the goal and obviously win conference and go to nationals,” Loveland said. “So, we know it is within our reach but there is always something that can happen.”

The men will face off once again with Graceland, which sits at No. 25 in the NAIA.

“They are extremely talented young men over there, but we are here to win, and we know we can,” Caldwell said.