RICHMOND, IN - The Ohio Christian Trailblazer Men's Cross Country team traveled out to Richmond, IN this past Saturday to compete in the River States Conference Championship Race hosted by Indiana University East. This meet featured 13 of the RSC schools with 98 runners among the crowd. After a long season, this is where everyone comes to compete for not only a chance to hoist that RSC Championship banner, but also for a chance to compete on the National stage in the NAIA National Championship held in Vancouver, Washington.
The Ohio Christian Men's team took that as a challenge as they placed three of their six runners into the top 10 finishers on the day. DJ Dickerson led the pack as he finished second overall coming after only one lone Rio Grande runner. DJ ran a 27 minute 8k pacing himself at 3:22/k for the race running just 56 seconds behind the leader. Coming in fifth overall in the race was Corry Mientkiewicz as he ran a 27:10.7 pacing himself at 3.24/k. Pulling the final top 10 spot for the Trailblazers was the older of the two Mientkiewicz brothers, Chester Mientkiewicz, running a solid 28.09.2 at a pace of 3:31/k.
The Trailblazers had a few runners with them that either had not competed this season at all or have had a long period of time between their last race to this Conference meet. One of which was newcomer Riley Dunham who had not competed at all this season, coming just a week off of his soccer season ending, and chose to give it a shot on the biggest stage in the River States Conference. Riley came in 73rd after running a 32:48.2 pacing himself at 4:06/k. Evan Caldwell had not competed since the first meet of the season at Wright State, but he came out to run and finished at 34:17.8 with a pace of 4:17/k. Bringing in the final Trailblazer to compete was Derek Donner. Derek had not competed since the Wilmington meet back on October 15th. He ended up running a 38:13 pacing himself at 4:47/k.
After asking Coach Brown on how she felt her team did in throughout the season, she said "The men really have faced a lot this season. Several races had not gone as well as they had hoped, even though a number of those times ended up putting them higher in the University's record books. Although discouraging things may have happened this season and we didn't get that banner, I never doubted any of their potential and am extremely proud of where they've come to in their careers this season. I'm also excited to see what many of them will do in the Fall of 2022."
This Trailblazer team did not win conference, but something that they can all cheer on is the fact that two of their teammates qualified for the National stage in Vancouver, WA. They will travel to Washington on November 16th as they prepare themselves to run on the biggest NAIA sanctioned event in the Cross Country world. The NAIA National race will commence on November 19th at a to be determined time.
Stay tuned for more information on that event as well as more Trailblazer Cross Country news on Twitter and Instagram (@ocutrailblazers) and on Facebook (Ohio Christian University Trailblazers).