Lake Forest Fares Well at MWC Championships on Home Course

Photos by Manisha Kumar
Photos by Manisha Kumar

Four Foresters earned All-Midwest Conference Honors by finishing in the top 20 on Saturday at the 2018 MWC Championship Meet. The Lake Forest men placed third and the women fifth while hosting the event at Foss Park Golf Course in nearby North Chicago.

The women's 6-kilometer race was first and Forester sophomore Yaneli Guajardo was the runner-up in the 120-runner field. She completed the course just 11 seconds off the lead with a time of 22:59.8, which ranks seventh in program history. It was the highest placing at the conference meet by a Forester in team history, one spot better than Shanna Palmer's third-place finish in 1996. Senior Emily Staufer was next on the team in 30th place overall with a season-best time of 24:39.0 and sophomore Molly Gniady was 54th in a career-best 25:37. Senior Senait Berhe and sophomore Audrey Paglia also posted career-best times, finishing 60th in 26:02.1 and 61st in 26:09.3, respectively.

St. Norbert College claimed its third consecutive women's team title with 36 points, 26 fewer than runner-up Monmouth College. They were followed by Grinnell College (79) in third place and Cornell College (113) in fourth. Lake Forest finished in fifth with 168 points, edging out Lawrence University (171), Ripon College (172), and Beloit College (178). Knox was ninth with 212 points while Illinois College had fewer than five runners and therefore did not score as a team.

Like Guajardo in the women's race, senior Jorge Villanueva made history in several different ways with ihs performance in the men's 8K. His third-place finish was the best in program history by four spots (Jonathan Stern was seventh last year), his time of 25:18.5 ranks second in program history, and he became the first four-time all-conference performer in the history of the Forester men's program. Junior Philip Wilson will have an opportunity to join Villanueva next year after posting his third top-20 finish in as many conference meets. His season-best time of 26:09.3 on Saturday was good for 10th place out of 108 finishers and 13th in team annals. After finishing 51st in the league as a freshman, 39th as a sophomore, and 23rd last year, senior Christian Aldana finally earned his first all-conference honor by placing 15th on Saturday with a season-best time of 26:40.0. Freshman Christian Reyes placed 29th in 27:29.4 and senior Alphonse Wilson rounded out the team's top five in 40th place with a season-best time of 27:46.5.

The Cornell men matched the St. Norbert women with 36 points to capture their second straight championship. Grinnell was second with 74 points and the Foresters third with 96. Monmouth trailed Lake Forest by just eight points and Lawrence University was fifth with 115. St. Norbert (147) finished sixth, Ripon (172) seventh, and Beloit (189) eighth while Knox and Illinois College were tied-for-ninth at 290.

It was the fourth time in the last five years the Lake Forest men placed third in the league and the women fifth. 

Select Foresters will continue training and compete in the NCAA Division III Regional at Whitetail Golf Course in Colfax, Wisconsin, on Saturday, November 10.