“I am very proud of the team today in so many ways,” said Head Coach Ken Roach. “Our goal was just to position our spots midway in the race and hold. We knew our ranking was good coming into the meet but did not want to take credit for it. It’s a new day and anything can happen. We wanted to stay outcome focused and keep ourselves humble and understand that it is God who gives us the strength.”
As the Bruins rolled up to the cross country course at Warsaw Community High School in Warsaw, Indiana, they would line up against 55 runners representing 12 different teams. BJU competed against athletes from Maranatha Baptist University, Ozark Christian College, Faith Baptist Bible, Crown College, Boyce College, Grace Christian University, Campbellsville-Harrodsburg, Emmaus Bible College, Barclay College, Welch College, and Dallas Christian College.
As the race began, the Bruins looked to get ahead of the pack as the course began to narrow. Jedidiah Osgood from Ozark Christian College raced out to the lead with Sol Shafer close behind him. Osgood’s lead increased throughout the 8k, but Shafer held strong in second. Five Bruins runners remained in the top-ten throughout the course.
As the runners came down the straightaway towards the finish line, it was Sol Shafer who finished first for the Bruins and second overall with a time of 26:45.80. Marc Johnson crossed the finish line next for the Bruins at 28:16.20. Three Bruins followed to finish fifth through seventh and round out the scoring for the men’s team. In fifth was Joseph Grassmid at 28:27.10 with Trenton Goldsmith stopping the clock at 28:51.80. Fourteen seconds behind was teammate Levi Gerbitz at 29:05.00.
Freshman Joel Batres-Mena just missed the top-ten as he crossed the line in 11th with a time of 29:32.50. Daniel Kyle completed his first NCCAA championship meet with a time of 30:20.90. Andrew Sarver rounded out the top-20 as he completed the 8k in just over 31 minutes. Luke VanDen Berghe and Seth Cordes were the final two Bruins to cross the line and complete the course.
After the scores were calculated, the Bruins saw themselves on top for the eighth straight year with a team time of 2:21:25.91 and 24 points.
Following the race, Levi Gerbitz, Trenton Goldsmith, Joseph Grassmid, Marc Johnson, and Sol Shafer earned All-American honors which is awarded to the top-ten finishers at the National Championships. In addition, Head Coach Ken Roach was named the NCCAA DII Coach of the Year for the third year as his team ran to a championship finish.
“The strength of our team is our unity and confidence of our ability to push through a hard race. We represented the Bruins well today, and I am very proud of the team’s accomplishment.”
Full results from the Nov. 10 NCCAA DII National Championships can be found here.