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(Holland, Mich.) (9/4) Zach Ripley's final collegiate cross country season was postponed on Friday, September 3, but that didn't stop him from breaking the course record on his way to winning the Hope Vanderbilt Invitational. Ripley's hardship request for a fifth season, after missing nearly all of the 2008 campaign with injury, sat in the NAIA legislative services offices on Friday, with no one to act on it. "We fully expect this to be resolved in plenty of time for the next meet," said Coach Rod Wortley, "Fortunately, Zach was able to run unattached today."
Ripley had teammate Alex Green next to him at the mile mark in 4:45. The pair continued to pull away from the rest of the field over the next four miles.
Zach lowered the course record to 24:59 for the win and Green set a personal best by one second getting credit as the top collegian in 25:18.
Sophomore, Cody Risch raced very well moving up to tenth at the finish. His time of 26:22 was a PR by over one minute. Jared Courtrgiht (27:45 / 17th), Peter Kaijala (27:45 / 19th) and Kris Shear (28:16 / 21st) completed the top five.
Zach Bourdon (28:37 / 22nd) and Brendan Baars (28:47 / 24th) did well in their Cross Country debuts.
Albion won the meet with 32 points followed by Hope with 40 and Cornerstone with 65. Muskegon Community was fifth with 112 ahead of Grace Bible at 151.
"We performed very well up front today," said men's distance coach, Nate Van Holten. "Having Ripley in the team scoring would have made it a much closer race for second, but we still need to improve at the number five spot."
The Golden Eagles compete next at the Knight Invitational on September 18 hosted by Calvin College.