Scots Tune-Up For NCACs with Top-10 Showings at Jenna Strong Invitational

Kayla Bertholf
Kayla Bertholf
Brian Lief
Brian Lief

The College of Wooster cross country teams turned in a strong showing in the final tune-up for the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships, as both programs turned in top-10 showings and were the second Div. III team in the standings at Friday's Jenna Strong Invitational hosted by Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio. Wooster's men placed fifth out of 31 varsity collegiate teams, while the women were ninth among 33 varsity collegiate entrants.

On the men's side, Wooster placed two harriers in the top-15 in the 369-runner field. Senior Brian Lief placed ninth on the championship-length 8,000-meter course at 25:23.4, and he was the second Div. III competitor to cross the finish. Classmate David Westcott wasn't far behind at 25:34.6, and he held off Northern Kentucky University's Zach Birdsall (25:35.5) down the stretch for a spot in the top-15.

Junior Miki Rae's 26:41.7 marked Wooster's third-best effort of the day, and that was good for a 65th-place finish. Senior Jackson Feinknopf was next at 26:51.1, which placed him 72nd.

Senior Simon Weyer rounded out the Scots in the top-100 with an 85th-place clip of 27:05.6.

Sophomore Matt Klonowski (27:35.5, 124th) and senior Hyuga Uchida (28:11.5, 159th) were the Scots' sixth and seventh finishers on the afternoon.

First-year Kayla Bertholf led the way for the Scots in the women's race with a 53rd-place time of 19:40 on the 5,000-meter course. Senior Emani Kelley quickly backed that up at 19:48.5, a time good for 59th-place.

Wooster's youth took charge from there as first-years Amirah Yessoufou and Isabelle Hoover both clocked in under 20:20 at 20:05.8 and 20:17.9, respectively. Yessoufou placed 73rd while Hoover crossed 85th.

Senior Collier Summay's 20:18.2 rounded out Wooster's scoring contingent, and that clip was good for an 87th-place finish.

Sophomore Emma Busch (20:28.4, 94th) and first-year Marian Overfield (20:40.7, 104th) comprised the rest of Friday's top-seven for the Scots.

Miami University (Ohio) and Ball State University – both NCAA Div. I programs – won the men's and women's races, respectively, with 58 and 48 points. Ohio Northern University was the lone NCAA Div. III program to finish ahead of Wooster.

Wooster returns to action on Oct. 27 when the NCAC Championships will be contested at Liberty Park in Powell, Ohio.