HUTCHINSON– The McPherson College cross country teams opened up their 2019 campaign on Friday night at the annual Terry Masterson Twilight Invitational hosted by Hutch Community College. The races took place at the Fun Valley Sports Complex and featured a three-mile (4.83k) loop for the women that started at 8:30 p.m., followed by the men's four mile (6.44k) loop at 9:05 a.m.

Both Bulldog teams finished in seventh place, the women out of eight teams, the men out of twelve. Arayana Archuleta was the top female runner for the Bulldogs, finishing in ninth with a time of 20:31.2, and Kevin Boeckman was tops for the men in 23 with a time of 23:03.9.
The MC senior women (Aryana Archuleta, LeaAnn Myers and Rachel Foreman) helped lead the women's team with our first race of the 2019 campaign. Led by Archuleta, the women's team started their season off on the right foot. In order for our team to progress and have the highest finishes possible we need to work on narrowing our 1-5 time gap as much as possible and committing to running as close to the front or middle of the field as possible. From the gun, it was apparent that our women's team was focused and ready to race. With three seniors in our top five it was apparent that the team is committed towards working to this higher standard. Two newcomers, Savannah Moore and Georgia Hitchcock competed like seasoned veterans and really helped our women's team have a solid 1-4 time gap. We now need to push a fifth runner closer to our four runner and continue to narrow that time gap between Archuleta and the remainder of our team.
With the graduation of MC's Jesse Freeman and Jerod Fuller, our men's team is left to redefine their identity and determine who is going to take on the leadership role(s) left by Fuller and Freeman. Within the first mile you can see that Jadin Fleming and Kevin Boeckma and Cole Hinton are ready to compete this fall and take over where the 2018 team left off. After a fall, Fleming fell back, and Hinton and Boeckman quickly took over and led the charge for the men's team. Boeckma finished the race with a four mile XC 14 second personal best. The Men's team also had a solid 1-4 time gap, but will need to work on narrowing our 1-5 time gap to remain competitive in the top half of the field at upcoming races. This was an early season race and will be very useful to help guide our team with our training during the early weeks of the season. I was very pleased with our focus and effort this early in the season. The key for both programs will be to remain focused, be able to stay healthy and train consistently and continue to work on narrowing our 1-5 time gaps as much as possible.