For Greene County News
HOUGHTON, N.Y. — It was a successful weekend for Cedarville University this past weekend when both the men’s and women’s cross country teams won the National Christian College Athletic Association’s national cross country championships in Houghton, NY.
The women scored 44 points to win the 21-team meet, besting Oklahoma Baptist University by a single point. But, if it hadn’t been for a wayward deer on the course, the point differential could have been a little more comfortable for the Yellow Jackets.
Cedarville’s top two runners broke the 18-minute barrier for the 5,000 meters. Carsyn Koch was third in 17:53 while Olivia Esbenshade place fourth in 17:57.
They were joined on the All-America team (top 15 finishers) by Hailey Bredeson, who was 10th in 18:35, as well as Kayla Casaletto, who finished 11th in 18:41.
The rest of the Lady Jacket line-up all placed in the Top 20 out of 142 competitors. The trio included Kathryn Sill (16th; 18:52), Rachel Groh (17th; 19:00), and Alaina Spears (19th; 19:04).
It’s the 10th NCCAA women’s cross country title in school history.
CU’s last banner came in 2009 when it completed a string of four straight championships and six in eight years.
According Kathryn Sill, who finished 16th in the race, Kayla Casaletto was running her race when a deer crossed her path and caused her to lose balance. She quickly recovered and finished in 18:41—the fourth best place for the Jackets.
Casaletto, a freshman from Goshen, Indiana, earned All-America honors in spite of the incident and was within one second of setting a personal record. She is majoring in athletic training and is a graduate of Elkhart Christian School.
Cedarville’s top five men’s runners all finished within a 21-second time span to win the NCCAA Men’s Cross Country Championship, also at Houghton College.
The Yellow Jackets totaled 61 points in the 18-team meet. Roberts Wesleyan was the runner-up with 68 points and Dallas Baptist had 90.
Cedarville claimed its fifth banner in school history and the first since 2010.
Xenia-grad Daniel Michalski led the way by placing ninth out of 135 competitors. He was clocked in 25:34 for the 8,000 meters.
Wyatt Hartman was 11th in 25:39; Matthew Pelletier came in 14th in 25:48; and Zac Bowen was right behind in 15th place in 25:51. The Top 15 finishers are All-Americans.
The remainder of the Yellow Jacket line-up included Forrest Thayer (18th; 25:55), Alec Weinhold (27th; 26:28), and Alex Shrock (37th; 26:48).
NCAA Division II Midwest Region individual champion Benjamin Tuttle did not run in the race. He’ll participate in the NCAA Championship on Nov. 21 in Joplin, Mo.
Story provided by Cedarville University.