The men’s and women’s cross country team competed in the Golden State Athletic Conference meet on Nov. 8. The men finished sixth out of nine teams and the women finished third.
Senior Kevin Horchler took first place in the men’s individual standings with a time of 26:08.52 in the 8k, a full 19 seconds ahead of Vanguard University’s Josh Espinoza.
“He’s been healthy this year,” head coach Jonathan Zimmerman said. “He did a good job of working hard and taking the time to rest well. It’s his fourth year running so he can do it well and strong.”
Horchler paced himself throughout the meet, staying in the top ten, moving to the top four and then breaking away from Espinoza and The Master’s Michael Sciarra on the final stretch.
“It was so exciting, I went through the finish line smiling,” Horchler said. “It was great to get first place in conference.”
Horchler’s first place finish qualified him to compete as an individual in the NAIA Cross Country Championship meet. Horchler made an appearance at Nationals as a freshman with the men’s team.
“I’m hoping to get a top 20 spot, maybe even make the top ten,” Horchler said. “It’s going to be a different experience racing by myself. But I want to go out there and show the country what I am capable of.”
The women’s team finished third this year, three minutes behind Westmont College who took the championship title. Junior Anika Gasner finished first for Biola with a time of 18:49.94. Senior Carrie Soholt followed close behind with a time of 19:02.81 and junior Kellian Hunt trailed Soholt at 19:06.22 in the 5k.
“We had to remember that we couldn’t take anything for granted,” Soholt said. “Winning a GSAC title is not something you can expect, you have to work for it. All of the schools in the GSAC are really great so we needed to keep focused.”
The women will travel with seven runners to compete in the National meet. This marks the eighth year in a row that the team has made an appearance in the meet.
“There are still goals to accomplish and targets to hit that they listed,” Zimmerman said. “There are some great athletes across the country and it’s a chance to compete well. We don’t want to take it for granted, but it’s still business as usual for us.”
The Eagles look to improve from their third place finish in the 2013 Nationals meet.
“I’m glad we made it,” Soholt said. “We just need to keep doing what we are doing and we are all thankful and excited to go.”