XC: Westmont women win first GSAC title in 15 years

The Westmont women's cross country team won its first GSAC title since 1999.

The Westmont women’s cross country team won its first GSAC title since 1999.

The Westmont women won their first GSAC Cross Country Championship since 1999 on Saturday at Central Park in Santa Clarita.

It’s the 12th conference title in school history. Russell Smelley was honored as the 2014 GSAC Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year, his fifth such conference honor, including men’s cross country and track & field. The Warriors, which placed seven runners in the top 20, scored 41 points followed by The Master’s with 54 and Biola with 78.

The Master’s College men won the GSAC Championship for the fifth straight season with 37 points placing five runners in the top 12. Zach Schroeder also received GSAC Coach of the Year honors for the fifth consecutive year. Vanguard finished second with 84 points, followed closely by Westmont with 91 points.

Karis Frankian of The Master’s led wire-to-wire and continually expanded her lead throughout the women’s race. The junior runner finished ahead of the pack by 30 seconds with a 5K time of 17:41.41.

Westmont’s Kelly Collins placed second in 18:11.13, Jesseca Meyers was fourth in 18:21.61 and Corinne Cherne took seventh in 18:35.60. Heidi Nicholls (19:01.96) was 12th and Olivia Wood (19:22.41) 16th to round out the team scoring.

Biola’s Kevin Horchler was able to conserve energy to make a late burst and outlast the competition in the men’s race. Horchler ran the in the lead group, which dwindled from 10 at the start of the race down to four heading into a steep uphill jaunt. Eventually it became just Horchler and Josh Espinoza of Vanguard until Horchler pulled during the downhill to cruise to the win with a time of 26:08.52 in the 8K race.

Westmont’s top finishers were freshman Kyle Fredrickson in 10th (27:03.16) and junior Evan Kramer in 11th (27:10.39).