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Women's Cross Country—The Cornerstone University Women's Cross Country team ended their remarkable season at the NAIA National Championships this past weekend, establishing themselves as a top fifteen team. Sophomore, Julie Oosterhouse's All-American honors highlighted the day. The University of British Columbia won the team title with 98 points, ahead of the College of Idaho with 112. Cornerstone claimed 15th, scoring 437 points in the 32 team field.
With a passing shower an hour before the starting gun, the race was looking to become muddy and slick. As the race got underway on Saturday morning, Oosterhouse carried along around 60th place in the first kilometer. The Golden Eagles co-captain, Jill Louisignau contracted a nasty case of food poisoning Thursday night but was bound and determined to not let that stop her from running. Senior Julia Contreras became the point women for the 2-6 group as the team worked to stay close. Midway through the second mile, Oosterhouse learned she was close to the top 30. Her usual outstanding finishing kick gained another half dozen places putting her 16th at the finish in 18:20. Oosterhouse was just seven seconds off her best time on the hardest course and worst conditions of the season. Behind her, Contreras was pulling ahead of her teammates as she closed out her collegiate career.
Conteraras' time of 19:42 was good for 126th place, CallyAnne Wyma finished 153rd overall with a 19:55 time, Louisignau notched 168th place with a time of 20 minutes flat and Audrey Tremaine finished in 20:03 placing her 172nd overall. To finish her career Contreras added, "It went by fast, even though the times were slow. For my last race, I went out and enjoyed it. I'm proud to be part of the first Cornerstone women's team to make it to Cross Country Nationals and there's nobody I'd rather step to the line with in this race than these girls."
Men's Cross Country—The Golden Eagles' men's cross country team followed the women on Saturday at the NAIA Men's Cross Country National Championship. The four-loop course at Fort Vancouver became muddier and more slippery with each lap making the short hills and sharp corners more of a challenge for the men. The University of Saint Francis (IL) won the team title with 138 points, ahead of Southern Oregon with 153. Cornerstone claimed 19th, scoring 439 points in the 32 team field.
Cornerstone senior Travis Mabe led his team for the final time, working his way from 85th in the opening mile then passing a dozen or so competitors each time around the two kilometer circuit. Classmate Cody Risch pulled the rest of the Cornerstone pack then broke away in the final mile.
Mabe's time of 25:31 was good for 41st place and Risch's 26:05 finish placed him in the 96th overall position. Senior Zach Bourdon ran eight seconds off his personal record (27:43 / 254th) on a tough course and tough day while Cornerstone's fourth senior, Jared Courtright, finished in 169th with a time of 26:47 after having spent the previous day feeling quite sick. Between Risch and Courtright were Thomas Bambach (133rd / 26:30) and Louis Falland (161st / 26:43). Tyler Grey placed 300th in 29:17.
Coach Nate Van Holten was fairly pleased with the results.
"We finished 19, which is our third best at nationals," said Van Holten. "It's been a season of ups and downs, bumps and bruised and this week has been like that as well. We handled that well. We came in ranked 18th and finished 19th after not running our best so I can live with that."
Women's Basketball—Cornerstone University's women's basketball posted a win and a loss last week. The squad traveled to nationally-ranked (No. 4) Indiana Wesleyan on Nov. 13 and hosted their conference season opener against University of Northwestern Ohio.
At Marion, Ind. on Tuesday, the Golden Eagles fell to Indiana Wesleyan 60-35. Cornerstone grabbed an early 11-6 lead within the first three minutes of play but after a 7-0 run by the Wildcats, CU found themselves down 31-26 going into the locker room. During the second half, Indiana Wesleyan played tough defense forcing Cornerstone to shoot just four of 26. Ashley Niedermayer led Cornerstone with eight points on the night.
On Saturday afternoon, Cornerstone picked up their first conference win of the season by earning a 76-63 victory over the University of Northwestern Ohio. After an early lead by the Racers, Cornerstone went on an 11-2 run while riding the hot hand of Robyn Veltkamp. Veltkamp notched 19 points in the first half to give Cornerstone the 39-27 halftime lead. During the second half, Veltkamp tallied 12 more points giving her a career-high 31 points on the way to the win.
Following the week, Cornerstone improves to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play as they prepare to face No. 7 nationally ranked, Davenport University tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. at Davenport before they take the rest of the week off heading into Thanksgiving.
Men's Basketball—The Golden Eagles' men's basketball team hosted their conference season opener last Saturday against the University of Northwestern Ohio. Cornerstone improved to 3-0 by defeating the Racers 74-60. After a back-and-forth first half and a 31-27 halftime lead, Cornerstone used a 66 percent second half shooting clip to earn their first conference win of the 2012-2013 campaign. Jake Plite led the team with 16 points while co-captain Derek Kingshott posted a game-high 13 rebounds.
After tomorrow night's key match-up against No. 11 Davenport University at 7:30 p.m., Cornerstone will look towards the weekend as they head to Hope College to participate in the annual Hall of Fame Classic on Friday and Saturday against Hope and Calvin College.
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