WINCHESTER, Va. – Sophomores Bella Pendola (Warsaw/River View) won an individual title at the Horner Harriet Invitational, hosted by Shenandoah University, leading the Baldwin Wallace University women's cross country team to a team title.
Shenandoah hosted the meet at the Kernstown Battlefield, which gave a historical aura and standpoint to the event with a bunch of the Civil War memorabilia and signs. The course also featured a significant hill at the starting line, which forced the runners to be smart right from the beginning and again going into the second loop of the course.
The women's team finished first out of 16 teams with 40 points, marking the first team title by either BW squad since the women won the Ohio Athletic Conference championship in 2009.
After an open 2 mile race that did not feature any Yellow Jackets, 124 runners toed the starting line for the women's 5k event. Pendola was the first runner to cross the finish line with a time of 19:35.0 for her first individual title and the best finish in her young career. The sophomore finished 26 seconds ahead of the second place finisher and improved on her career-best 5k time by 25.7 seconds.
Freshmen Madison Kile (North Canton/Hoover) and Hastings Marek (Pataskala/Watkins Memorial) were the next two Yellow Jackets to cross the finish line in fourth and fifth place, respectively, with times of 20:26.4 and 20:26.5, respectively.
Round out BW's top five runners were freshmen Lizzy Gilreath (Mentor) and Megan Vaughn (Amherst/Firelands). Gilreath ran her 5k race in 20:55.5 for 12th place while Vaughn finished 18th with a 21:10.0 time, leading the Yellow Jackets to a first place finish overall.
With a big meet in the All-Ohio Championships looming in just six days, Head Coach Joe Eby said that today's shorter races (5k for the women and 6k for the men) will mean that the runners shouldn't be as beat up for the next meet when they will compete against all the OAC teams and a lot of other schools that the Yellow Jackets recruit against.]
BW will try to earn back-to-back team titles as the men's and women's cross country teams will run in the All-Ohio Championships, hosted by Cedarville University, at the Elvin R. King Cross Country Course in Cedarville on Friday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m.