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Cross Country Team Reaches Finish Line

During a recent post season awards dinner and banquet, Cross Country Coach Mike Johnson said there were "some high points and some low points. A pretty good season, really."

The members of the cross country team.

Coach Mike Johnson spoke to the team about how to evaluate the season and their performance. He asked challenging questions, and suggested, "It's a competition not only with others but with yourself." Johnson offered them advice for both the game and the years ahead, saying "Don't just apply what I've said to cross country, but to life."

The awards for the women's team were as follows:
* Rookie of the Year: Laura Finley
* Most Improved: Laura Finley
* 110 % Award: Leesa Unger
* Most Valuable Runner Award: Leesa Unger

And for the men's team:
* Rookie of the Year: Jimmy Rop
* Most Improved: Paul Winker
* 110 % Award: Shawn Jakubowski
* Most Valuable Runner Award: David Webster

This year the Berea College team didn't take part in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Tournament. There were many contributing factors, including injuries suffered by some of the team members, that made them unable to participate.

But the men's team did win three meets; perhaps one of the team's finest victories this year was their performance at the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) meet. Berea not only won the KIAC meet, but team member Paul Winker came in first place and was awarded "Runner of the Year". Jimmy Rop and Tom McGann came in second and third respectively. Raul Portillo came in sixth. All were awarded all-conference awards. Coach Johnson earned "Coach of the Year" by the KIAC. Berea College's Laura Finley came in sixth in women's cross country.

The men's team also won the Earlham invitational meet and the Berea meet. All in all, the team won 65 events and lost 46. They picked up most of their losses in the Division 1 meet when they came up against some of the region's powerhouse teams. The women's finished with a 21-66 record.

Next year, the team hopes to get good times and give their best performances. They would also like to make it to nationals, which will be held in California.

The members of the men's team are Fletcher Bell, Zach Holbert, Brandon Hurley, Shawn Jakubowski, Tom McGann, Raul Portillo, Jimmy Rop, Luis Soto, David Webster and Paul Winker. On the women's team are Natalee Barnes, Nicole Bihl, Rachael Crouse, Laura Finley, Hannah Mitchell, Carleigh Robbins and Leesa Unger.

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