XC: Warriors upset higher ranks to win William Jessup Invitational

(ROCKLIN, Calif.) Westmont Cross Country swept the William Jessup Invitational on Saturday, winning both the men’s and women’s races. Westmont’s 25th-ranked men outpaced #17 The Master’s by a score of 28-31 (low score wins) and #22 Oregon Tech, which tallied 75 points. The 14th-ranked Westmont women’s team edged out #7 The Master’s 36-38 with #21 Oregon Tech taking third with 52 points.

“I was elated to see our men’s team have a very strong race,” said Smelley. “They produced a team spread of 40 seconds and didn’t give in to the packed dirt course on undulating hills. The men kept their spread together until the very end when Evan Kramer had a good finish to take second place.”

Kramer posted a time of 25:30 over the 8,000 meter course, edging out two runners from The Master’s – Richard Beckelew (third place, 25:40) and Kyler Mikesell (fourth place, 25:48). The race was won by Joshua Sherfey of The Master’s who completed the course in a time of 24:40.

With three runners in from the Master’s and only one for Westmont, the next few runners would be critical. As it turned out, the next four were wearing Maroon.

Westmont’s Thomas Hamlin claimed fifth place with a time of 26:06 and Blake Fonda captured sixth with a time of 26:13. Right behind Fonda were Nathan Evans in seventh and John Nealon in eighth, both with times of 26:15.

The final two countable runners for The Master’s finished 11th and 12th. Oregon Tech’s first finisher, Ryan Freeman, took 10th place in a time of 26:20.

“Master’s had all of its top five runners competing,” reported Smelley, “so this race was a very good result for Westmont.” Oregon Tech’s top runner did not compete because of a broken foot and their number two runner dropped out of the race.

In the women’s 5,000 meter race, The Master’s claimed first and second place with sisters Karis (17:41) and Abigail (18:15) Frankian. Westmont’s Jessica Meyers took third place with a time of 18:25. The Master’s then claimed the number four spot when Morgan Pedrick (18:40) crossed the finish line.

Fifth place in the women’s race went to Westmont Ceci Adams in a time of 18:42. All-American Kelly Collins (18:46) and Olivia Wood (19:03) finished seventh and eighth respectively for the Warriors and Sierra Wallen (19:36) took 12th.

“The women’s race was not quite what we had hoped for in terms of team spread, but it was very gratifying to finish first,” said Smelley. “Jessica hung with the team until the two-mile mark and then realized that she needed to move up. Her breaking up the top-three helped a lot.”

The next scheduled event for Westmont is the GSAC Championships on November 7.

“On both the men’s and women’s side, Westmont, Biola and The Master’s will be in contention for the GSAC Championship. I am anticipating that race with great confidence.”