The Huntington University (HU) cross country program kicked off its season on Wednesday, Sept. 1, with an impressive showing at the annual Hokum Karem hosted by Manchester University. Had it been a scored team event, both HU squads would have topped the standings.
The Hokum Karem originated at Wabash College over 50 years ago. Legendary Little Giants Coach J. Owen Huntsman created the event which partners two runners together, alternating loops over a one-mile circuit for a total of six miles for women and eight miles for men.
On the men’s side, Haile Stutzman and Elijah Chesterman teamed up to finish first among 25 pairs with an overall time of 38:38.7, over 30 seconds ahead of the second place team. They posted an average mile time of 4:50 with Stutzman’s opening mile of 4:32.2 proving the fastest overall mile of the day.
The duo of Aaron Hendryx and Kent Yoder clocked in at 39:20.6 to finish third overall for a 4:55 mile pace. Austin Liepe and Matthew Hyter took fifth in 40:22.8. Jonah Lemmon and Reece Gibson claimed 17th in 43:01.6 while Josiah Sovine and Isaac Combs finished 22nd in 46:19.5.
The Forester women were paced by Shelby Christman and Sydney Lambert.
The twosome turned in a 5:48 average mile time to enjoy third out of 30 pairs with an overall time of 34:47.9. In her collegiate debut, Christman clocked a 5:27.1 first loop for the third fastest women’s mile of the day.
Olivia Von Gunten and Carmen Trier posted a 36:53.6 to finish sixth having averaged a 6:09 mile. Wearing Forester green for the first time, Abby Mays and Emily Tedder navigated the circuit in 37:07.8 for eighth place. Lauren Craig and Shaylynn Reyes ran a 40:55.4 to claim 21st overall while Morgann Hart and Lauren Marsh clocked in at 48:44.9 for 30th place.
“This was a great start to our season,” said Coach Lauren Johnson. “The men had a solid outing overall. I’m excited to see what our returners do as the season unfolds and how our new kids fit into that mix.
“I was also very happy with how the women performed. We have a solid group of freshmen who will be big contributors this season. They all ran very well as did our returners. It will be exciting to see how this team comes together by the end of the season.”