Kenyon cross country sent its top 20 Lords and Ladies to the 2016 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Championship this weekend, but they were not the only ones to make the six-hour bus ride to Terre Haute, Ind.
Much to her surprise, Molly Hunt ’18, a runner for Ladies cross country, found 10 teammates who were not competing on the bus anyway. They came to line the Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course from start to finish, and their cheering helped propel Hunt to a 12th-place finish and the top time for the Kenyon women’s team on Sunday.
“There were so many of them,” Hunt said. “Every 400 meters I would see a teammate cheering on the sidelines, and it’s what got me through the race.”
The Ladies finished fourth in the championship. Nine NCAC teams ran in the race, with Allegheny College taking first place. After Hunt, senior Harlee Mollenkopf finished next for Kenyon with a 14th-place finish individually. Tate Serletti ’20 completed the course in 16th place and Andrea Ludwig ’19 took 19th place. Hunt and Mollenkopf received All-NCAC second team honors for their finishes; Serletti and Ludwig received All-NCAC honorable mentions.
In the men’s race, the Lords finished in last place of the nine teams that ran on Sunday. The men’s team put in good effort, but Isak Davis ’19 said the race was a tough one for most of the Lords. Davis claimed Kenyon’s top finish of the day, at 19th place, earning him an All-NCAC honorable mention. Kyle Rose ’19 completed the race at 29th, and three first years — Tommy Johnson, Ethan Bradley and Mark Lewis — wrapped up the race for Kenyon at 59th, 74th and 76th.
Despite taking last place at the championship, the Lords enjoyed the trip. For Davis, this season’s achievements are especially sweet. He was prepared to run for the cross country team last season, but a stress fracture in his upper femur forced him off the racecourse and onto crutches. Now in his first season running for the Lords, Davis has bounced back to lead the team and post top times in every race.
“This time around it feels much more like part of who I am,” he said.
The Kenyon cross country runners will put their determination and camaraderie on display one more time this fall: The Lords and Ladies will send seven runners each — with Davis and Hunt among them — to run in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 12 in Holland, Mich.