Rio men finish 2nd, sending 3 to nationals

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Blake Freed ran to a runner-up finish and led the University of Rio Grande men’s cross country team to a runner-up finish as a team at the 2015 Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship, Saturday afternoon, at the Rio Grande Cross Country Course.

Freed, a junior from Uhrichsville, Ohio, crossed the finish line just ahead of fellow junior Dallas Guy (Buffalo, OH), although both officially finished the 8K course in 26:53.7.

Freed, Guy and freshman Mike Norris (Dayton, OH) – who finished fifth in a time of 27:14 – qualfied for the NAIA National Championship on Nov. 21 in Charlotte, N.C. as being among the top four individuals who weren’t members of the winning team.

Senior Matt Engstrom (Dover, OH) narrowly missed making it a quartet of national qualifiers for the RedStorm by finishing seventh in a time of 27:33.

Rio Grande finished with 53 points as a team, 13 behind champion and national qualifier Point Park (40 pts.). Asbury University was a distant third place finisher with 108 points.

Freshman Brian Moore fueled Point Park’s title run by taking top individual honors in the 93-runner field with a time of 26:32.

Rounding out the day for the RedStorm was freshman Dustin Edens (Westerville, OH), who was 40th in a time of 30:30; freshman Phil Colbert (North Philadelphia, PA), who crossed in 43rd place with a time of 30:52; freshman Brody Ferris (New Philadelphia, OH), who was 60th in a time of 32:43; and sophomore D.J. Hickman (Clayton, OH), who finished 80th in 30:55.

Indiana-Kokomo senior Javier Vasquez, who finished fourth in a time of 27:10, joined the Rio Grande trio as qualifiers for the national championship event.

Freed, Guy, Norris and Engstrom were also rewarded with All-KIAC First Team honors based on their finish in the race. Engstrom was also Rio’s Champions of Character representative.

The top seven individual finishers were named All-KIAC First Team, while finishers 8-14 were designated as Second Team selections.

Point Park head coach Kelly Parsley was named the league’s Coach of the Year.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing