Men's and women's cross country win GLVC titles

Pat Hickey

USI cross-country added to its track record at the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Championships, winning both the men and women’s crowns on Saturday.

The eighth-ranked men’s team secured its eighth-straight and GLVC-best 20th title. Senior Michael Jordan and sophomore Tyler Pence captured the top two overall spots with season-best performances, leading the Eagles to a 33-point finish over second-place Lewis University.

Jordan, who finished in second place at the event last year, was tabbed the GLVC Runner of the Year. The former All-American ran the eight-kilometer race in 24:39.10.

“The most important thing was that, for a lot of us, these were our best individual performances of the year,” Jordan said. “To have it come right before regionals is great, just because we’re right where we should be, which is steady improvement. Hopefully, we’ll do the same in two weeks.”


 

Pence, who came in third place last year, finished the race exactly 10 seconds behind Jordan to earn all-conference accolades. Evansville native Tyler Schickel placed seventh and was named GLVC Freshman of the Year. Junior Will Cox and sophomores Clay Meyer and Trent Nolan also received all-league honors with top 15 finishes.

The 23rd-ranked women’s team won its fourth league title in the past five years. Senior Lauren Minor recorded the fifth-best time in USI history and placed fourth overall. Trailing Minor were juniors Kaylee McClanahan, Erika Wilson and Kristen Gray, who placed sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

Minor’s showing matches her result from last year, but she improved her time by 13.6 seconds to garner her third all-GLVC honor alongside McClanahan, Wilson and Gray.

“I was shooting for under 22 minutes – which I did – and to win another conference title,” Minor said. “This win gives us a lot of confidence heading into regionals, just knowing that if we run like we did (on Saturday), we have a good shot at going to nationals.”

Last year at the NCAA II Midwest Region Championships, the men’s side placed second of 22 teams and advanced to the national championships, where they finished in seventh. A top-five showing is required to move on.

The men and women’s teams rank second and third, respectively, in the Midwest region.

“Once you have a system in place that you know is effective, all you have to do is identify the right athletes that will buy into the program,” said USI head coach Mike Hillyard, who earned his 16th GLVC Coach of the Year honor. “(Winning) never gets old.”