BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – The Indiana University Kokomo athletic program had another first when women’s cross country runner Brittany Sloan scored the team’s first-ever victory. Running at the WVU Tech Golden Bear Classic in Beckley, West Virginia, the Cougar women finished second overall on a sunny Sept. 24 morning.
Sloan, a sophomore from Wabash, led the pack of 45 female runners with a time of 20:59.2 to win by nearly one minute. Second place was captured by Asbury University’s McKenna Phipps with a time of 21:58.2.
“I was not expecting to win, so it was a great feeling,” said Sloan after the race. “The team ran hard. It was definitely a challenging race. We are doing well, but we have six weeks to get to where we need.”
Sloan earned River States Conference Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week honors for her efforts.
Asbury finished first as a team with 54 points, followed by Kokomo (56), Indiana University East (65), West Virginia University Tech (76), Bluefield State College (115), University of Virginia Wise (133) and Salem International University (192).
For the Cougars individually, Caitlin Eltzroth finished ninth (23:31.0), Karly Sprouse was 14th (24:23.7), Katie Myers was 15th (24:31.3), Jensen Freeman was 17th (25:07.0), Brooke Runyon was 24th (26:22.5) and Hannah High was 32nd (30:15.6). Sprouse and Freeman are both Northwestern graduates, Myers is a Tri-Central grad and High is a Kokomo grad.
“Our women’s team had a special day, beating several conference opponents and just missing first place on the day,” said IUK men’s and women’s head coach Jason VanAlstine. “Brittany’s race was spectacular. That was our first ever first place finish for an individual at a meet.”
For the men, the Cougars did not field a complete team in the seven-team field. Asbury took first place with a perfect score of 15 – the squads top six runners finished 1-6. Bluefield State was second (54) and Salem International was third (70).
Ethan Sharp led IUK runners with a 13th place finish (31:39), followed by Ethan Dubbels in 15th (31:57.8), Shad Jakes in 24th (33:58.0) and Tyler Lucas in 30th (36:51.5). Sharp and Lucas are Kokomo graduates and Dubbels and Jakes hail from Northwestern.
“I was very pleased with how the teams ran today,” said VanAlstine. “Although the times don’t necessarily show it, the teams took a step forward with their performance. As the weather cools and we get into some of our large meets we will see some pretty fast times later this year.”
Both IUK cross country teams will head to Kentucky to compete in the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 1, with the start time slated for 8 a.m.
IU Kokomo athletics contributed to this story