by Tabitha DeHart
The Cedarville Men’s Cross Country team won the G-MAC Championships for the second year in a row on their home course this past Saturday, Oct. 26. Cedarville won the first five spots, gaining a perfect score of 15 points to create a large gap between the Jackets and the second-place finisher, Trevecca Nazarene (55 points) and third-place Davis and Elkins (81 points).
Matt Brooker repeated as individual meet champion, claiming the G-MAC Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Year award as well as G-MAC All-Conference honors. Cedarville swept the first five spots. Brooker covered the 8k course in a time of 24:43.
Following Brooker for Cedarville were Joe Niemiec (2nd; 25:35), Ben Tuttle (3rd; 25:35), Clay Watson (4th; 26:10), and Matt Cheney (5th; 26:11). Rounding out the top seven were Neil Klinger (8th; 26:45) and Wyatt Harman (10th; 26:56). All Cedarville’s top seven finishers made it onto the G-MAC All-Conference First Team.
Even though the conditions were less than ideal with temperatures in the low forties and lots of wind, the men, who ranked 21st in the nation going in to the meet, had another very strong race.
Senior Joe Neimiec said that running has meant a lot to him over the years and has taught him a lot about himself.
“You can’t really put into words what running is meant to mean,” Neimiec said. “It changes your life. It teaches you a lot about yourself and work ethic and how to finish something you start, and just the drive and discipline aspect of it. So for me personally, it’s changed my life and kind of made me who I am today, and I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.”
The Jackets are now turning their minds towards the regional race in two weeks, which will be held in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Nov. 9. Last year, the men tied for 4th and qualified for the national meet.