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OC women 4th in OBU meet; Cardenas runs personal best

OC senior Melyssa Cardenas, shown here earlier this season, ran a personal-best time while finishing sixth in the OBU Invitational.

SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oct. 8, 2011) – After most of the Oklahoma Christian women’s cross country team took last week off because of injuries, the Lady Eagles returned with a fourth-place finish Saturday in the Oklahoma Baptist University Invitational.

The top runners on OC’s No. 1-ranked men’s team took the week off to prepare for next week’s 10-kilometer Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Ark., but the Eagles did field a team and finished seventh among nine squads in Shawnee.

The Lady Eagles posted a team score of 78, four points behind third-place Newman (Kan.) and five points behind host OBU. OC’s No. 1 runner thus far this season, freshman Jacqueline Hallam, ran fifth for the Lady Eagles on Saturday, finishing 29th overall. OC head coach Mark Thompson said she “was too ambitious early in the race, and it cost her and the team, but it is a mistake she’ll only make once.”

Despite that misstep, Thompson was pleased with how the team ran. Senior Melyssa Cardenas covered the 5,000 meters in a personal-best 19:23 to finish sixth. Noemi Hernandez (19:49.6) and Erin Sesemann (19:51) were 12th and 14th, respectively, while Cady Block finished 17th in 20:06.

“Melyssa ran a personal best, and Noemi and Erin are back on track, and Cady continues to be very dependable,” Thompson said. “We came up just short of OBU, but it was a positive day all in all.”

Central Oklahoma’s Brooke Klimek won the race in 18:37 and UCO won the team competition as well with 42 points.

In the 8,000-meter men’s race, OC posted a team score of 189, with OBU winning with a score of 15, as the Bison swept the top six spots in the 84-runner field.

Brennym Kaelin led the Eagles, finishing 16th in 27:01. Also for OC, Trevor Martin was 42nd in 28:24, Matt Curran was 64th in 30:06, Jeremy Lasso was 66th in 30:27 and Riley Compton was 77th in 33:20.

“Brennym and Trevor both ran huge personal-best times,” Thompson said. “They are figuring out the 8k distance and will continue to improve quickly.”

Eleven OC runners stayed home to continue preparations for the Chile Pepper Festival.