Despite losing a shoe early in the race, Forester senior Jorge Villanueva placed 176th out of 280 runners at the 2018 NCAA Division III National Championship Meet on Saturday.
Villanueva, the first Forester to qualify for the national championships, completed the 8-kilometer course at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winneconne, Wisconsin, in 25:59.6.
Several runners, including Villanueva, got tangled up and fell at the beginning and the field was called back for a restart. He then lost a shoe approximately three minutes into the race and was forced to run the rest of the way without it. Villanueva was able to climb into the top 200 runners near the half-way mark and continued to work his way up. The course remained crowded with 83 competitors finishing less than 30 seconds ahead of Villanueva and 59 more within a half-minute behind him.
Villanueva's time on Saturday is the ninth-fastest in team history and he now owns six of the program's nine sub-26 minute performances, including five from this season. In addition to being the first Forester to earn all-region honors and qualify for the national meet, he is the only four-time All-Midwest Conference runner in team annals and will graduate in May with 10 of the top 25 times in team history.
Fellow senior Christian Aldana accompanied Villanueva and Forester Head Coach Ciara Kissane on the trip and several of their teammates made the two-and-a-half hour drive from campus to the meet on Saturday to cheer him on.