(Grand Rapids, Mich.) Three days of rain, left the 5,000 meter cross country course at Riverside Park soggy in several spots and the corners slick causing many of the 227 women in the race to add longer spikes to their shoes.
As twenty-one teams left the starting line, changing from a horizontal line to a vertical one, Cornerstone senior, Janey Sluka found herself on the ground in the first 100 meters, dodging six half-inch daggers on each passing foot. Quickly regaining her feet, Sluka took off after her teammates in an attempt to rejoin freshmen Audry Yonge and Julia Contreras in her pace group for the day.
Up ahead, Janelle Lindman put together a less dramatic but effective race. Following a first mile in 5:52, the senior reached two miles in 12:14 on the way to tying her personal best in 19:19, good for 22nd place. Melissa Sawicki and Nicki Erler ran well together with Sawicki getting to the finish line five seconds ahead in 19:46 (42nd) to 19:51 (49th).
Sluka managed to catch Yonge and Contreras by the mile mark (6:15), but was tripped up again in the second mile. Audry ran a season best 20:21 in 73rd and Julia completed a 19 second PR, clocking 20:29 in 77th.Sluka finished 85th in 20:42 then headed to the trainer's tent to deal with the deep four inch gash above her right ankle. After stopping the bleeding and cleaning the wound, Sluka was sent to an urgent care center where it took fourteen stitches to sew up her leg.
Freshman Sunny DeJong had the biggest PR of the day, chopping58 seconds off her previous best to finish in 121st with a time of 21:49.
Cedarville took the win with 59 points while Spring Arbor upset conference rival, Indiana Wesleyan 76 to 104 for second and third. Cornerstone finished tenth.