Men Finish Strong At Muddy Gettysburg Invite

Nels Akerson (left) and Pete Nelson (right) finished fourth and second for EMU, respectively, at the Gettysburg Invitational.

It may not have been the nicest conditions for a run, but the Eastern Mennonite men's cross country team competed in a field of 347 runners Saturday at Gettysburg despite the wet ground and strong winds.

Dan Nafziger (Harrisonburg, VA/Harrisonburg) continued his recovery from an illness and pushed his way to 39th place.  He finished the muddy 8K course in 28:44.82.

EMU Coach Jason Lewkowicz was happy to see Nafziger run this week.

"Dan Nafziger raced for the first time in a month," he said, "although it was evident he is still not 100% recovered from the illness which has held him out until now.  He still moved up from the 50s to the 30s in the last 1K of the race, showing tremendous effort."

Pete Nelson (Harrisonburg, VA/Christopher Dock) came in 88th with a time of 29:46.31.  Freshman Jesse Parker (Wichita, KS/Wichita East) crossed 181st in 31:17.62.

Coming in 264th was Nels Akerson (Harrisonburg, VA/Eastern Mennonite) in 33:31.97.  Roberto Wingfield (Glen Allen, VA/Hermitage) wasn't far behind, taking 279th in 34:12.78.  Thomas Millary (Dillsburg, PA/Homeschool) crossed in 35:13.25, taking 291st.

As a team, the Royals were 19th out of 31 teams.  Malone easily won the team title by taking five of the top nine individual spots.

"The guys showed great toughness on the muddy course and all made up ground on the field over the last mile of the race," Lewkowicz said.  "I had challenged a couple of our younger guys to really step up their mental game and show some toughness and I think they did that.  This was not a race for the stopwatches, but I came away with several positives as we begin looking towards the postseason competitions."

After another off week, the next meet is the ODAC Championships on Saturday, October 29.  Lynchburg College will be hosting at the Claytor Nature Center in Bedford, the same course the men ran on to open the season on September 1.