Westerville, OH – Following their week off, it was an impressive outing for the Heidelberg University men’s and women’s cross country squads at the Otterbein Invitational held on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Neither the rain nor their week-long absence from competition could dampen the Heidelberg men, who, with the guidance of second year head coach Briana Hess, brought home top prize in the team standings.
The Berg men ran a combined 2:17:52.7.
The legs of standout freshman Brad Palocko (Medina), who ran a 27:18.6 on the 8k course, paced the Heidelberg men. Palocko earned a career-best fourth place finish out of a field of 105 competitors.
Three more male Student Princes would finish the wet and muddy, 8k course in under 28 minutes. Sophomore Carson Schaefer (Omekos, MI) showed well for the Berg, finishing in eighth individually and clocking a 27:24.8. Seniors Dustin Kuess (Coldwater) and Kevin Neel (Wellington/New London) both placed in the top 15 clocking a 27:27.4 and 27:32.4 respectively.
Freshmen Avery Gatchell (Fostoria/Hopewell-Loudon) and Lynn Leatherman (Liberty Center) posted times of 28:09.3 and 29:13.3, earning 23rd and 49th respectively.
“We had a great pack of: Palocko, Schaefer, Neel and Kuess, with Avery Gatchell, a freshman, as our fifth,” said Hess.
Junior Logan Leis (Zanesfield/Benjamin Logan) also gave the Berg a top 50 finish by clocking a 28:46.4; good enough for 37th place.
The Heidelberg women did not produce a top three finish as a team, but their individual effort could not be out done.
Senior Bobbi Custer (Woodstock/Triad) set a personal best with her 19:29.2 on the women’s 5k course. Custer paced the Heidelberg women by finishing ninth out of a field of 129 female competitors.
“On the women’s side, Bobbi Custer ran very tough,” said Hess. “She set a personal record, which is huge considering the weather conditions,” Hess added.
Junior Sophie Goobic (Canton, NY/Hugh C. Williams) was the only other Heidelberg lady to finish in the top 20, with a time of 20:11.7, earning her 17th.
Freshmen Erica Miller (Enon/Greenon) and Kristen Fett (Defiance) ran well for the Student Princes, completing the women’s course in 21:26.1 and 21:33.2, respectively. Miller tabbed 51st, and Fett finished in 56th place.
“Sara Mullet (Burton/Berkshire) was our fifth girl, and did show great strength as she dropped time from two weeks ago and held on to the fifth spot the whole race,” said Hess. Mullet recorded a 23:45.6 in Westerville for the Berg.
“I’m excited for next week at the All-Ohio Championships when they (the team) go up against all the teams in the conference,” said Hess. “It should be interesting to see where we are as a team and I think they are ready to prove they are better then they have shown so far this season,” she added.
The Heidelberg men and women will return to action on Saturday, September 29, when they travel to Cedarville, Ohio to compete in the All-Ohio Championships hosted by Cedarville University. The official start time is scheduled for 2:00 pm.