Foresters Finish 18th at NCAA Regional Championships

Foresters Finish 18th at NCAA Regional Championships

Seniors Cassie Lira and Jonathan Stern set program records in their final career meet and the Lake Forest College cross country teams each placed 18th at the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional Meet on Saturday.

The men's 8-kilometer race was first and Stern, whose time of 25:39.5 at the Midwest Conference Championships on October 28 was the previous school record, shattered that mark with a time of 25:04.5 on Saturday. He placed 61st in the 254-runner field. Sophomore Philip Wilson was next on the team and 86th overall in 25:30.5 and junior Christian Aldana placed 118th with a time of 26:00.4. Their times rank second and fifth in team history. Three classmates of Aldana also recorded times that rank among the best in team annals. Sam Barton was 134th in the race with a time of 26:26.0, Alphonse Wilson 139th in 26:30.7, and Jorge Villanueva 141st in 26:31.8. Those marks rank 16th, 21st, and 22nd in program history.

North Central College was the men's team champion with just 34 points and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse finished second with 81. Lake Forest was the top Midwest Conference member at the meet and 18th out of 36 teams overall with 534 points. The Foresters also placed 18th at the regional meet each of the last three years.

In just her third meet of the season, Lira broke the previous school record by 11 seconds with a 6-kilometer time of 22:38.7. She placed 69th out of 263 runners in the race, just three spots and exactly three seconds ahead of Forester freshman Yaneli Guajardo. Sophmore Ariane Balaram was third on the team and 78th in the race and her time of 22:51.2 ranks fourth in program history. Fellow sophomore Lauren Giurini turned in the 24th-fastest time in team history and finished 124th overall in 23:33.8 and junior Emily Staufer rounded out the squad's top five with a 164th-place time of 24:10.7. Sophomore Briana Campbell completed the course at Saukie Valloey Golf Course in 25:38.4, giving the women's team career-best times from each of its six runners.

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire finished first on the women's side with 59 points, 16 fewer than runner-up Washington University-St. Louis. Lake Forest's 499 points were just six more than 17th-pace Carroll University but fewer than 18 other teams at the meet. The Foresters have now placed 18th or better in the region four years in a row.

Stern will graduate in May with nine of the top 25 times in program history and Lira with seven on the women's side.