NORTH MANCHESTER, Indiana – The Earlham College men's cross country team improved three spots in a year's time as the Quakers finished in third place at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Men's Cross Country Championships hosted by Manchester University on Saturday morning.
Earlham tallied 78 team points with four individuals inside the top 20. Hanover College finished second with 75 points while Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology won the championship with 52 points.
"Sixth months ago we were picked ninth of out 10 schools and today we finished in third place, just three points short of second," Co-Head Cross Country Coach Rob Hewitt said. "We got into position and competed had. I really liked how our 3-5 runners moved through the field."
Gabriel Penk paced the Quakers with a fourth place by completing the 8-kilometer course in 26:12.42. The performance earned Penk All-HCAC honors as one of the top 12 finishers. Blake Harris of Manchester claimed the HCAC individual championship with a time of 25:41.08, beating the entire field by over 26 seconds.
Earlham's next three runners earned Honorable Mention All-HCAC honors for finishing between 13th and 20th place. Nate Papachristos, finished one spot short of All-HCAC recognition by finishing 13th with a time of 27:04.16. Papachristos earned HCAC Freshman of the Year honors for being the top first-year finisher. Bineyam Tumbo (27:41.43) and Noah Scherf (27:51.97) placed two spots from each other at 18th and 20th respectively. Oliver Daniel (28:04.84) rounded out the Quakers' top finishers with a 24th place finish.
"We have a lot of momentum in this program after place four individuals on the All-HCAC teams as well as having the three fastest first-years in the conference," said Hewitt. "Best of all, our culture is thriving with an energetic and exciting group of people."
The Quakers will have a week off before heading to the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional meet hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University on Nov. 11.