Dawson leads Eagles to victory

Lyndee Dawson earns first career individual cross country championship as women take first and men take third.


Photo courtesy of Sean Jennings

Dale Fredriks, Writer

After making the long trek to Rocklin, Calif. for the Golden State Athletic Conference cross country championships on Nov. 5, Biola returned with a women’s team that took first place for the second year in a row and a men’s team that earned themselves a spot on the podium in third place. They also came back to La Mirada with an individual champion in senior Lyndee Dawson, marking her first individual championship.

An individual champion

“It was cool to see in this four-year process how I have grown as a runner, as an individual and an athlete,” Dawson said. “So that was just really cool, to have that moment as a senior, especially with my teammates by my side, because I would not be here if they did not push me every single day.”

Dawson completed the 5k race in 17:22, beating out the second place finisher by only nine-tenths of a second. Dawson’s win put her in an elite group of Biola athletes, as she became the seventh runner in Biola history to win an individual championship.

Additional top finishes

Dawson may have been the highlight of the event, but two other Eagles joined her with top-five finishes. Sophomore Emily Ransom came in third place with a time of 17:27 and junior Hannah Hunsaker finished just off the podium in fourth place at 17:36.

A total of six runners on the women’s side finished fast enough to qualify them for all-GSAC honors, as junior Stephanie Croy came eighth, senior Michelle Clark finished in 10th and sophomore Mandy Reyes crossed the line in 13th.

Just short of second

On the men’s side, they fell just short of a second-place finish as they tied with Westmont College in points for their top five runners, but lost on the tiebreaker that looked at their sixth and seventh runners’ positions.

Freshman Gabe Plendcio finished highest for the men’s team in fourth place with a time of 24:56 over the 8k distance. Sophomore Ryan Thompson crossed the line eighth at 25:03, followed by junior Miles Brubacher in ninth at 25:10. All three runners earned All-GSAC honors for their accomplishments.

The conference season may be over, but Biola has one more race to prepare for — the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship race on Nov. 19 in Elsah, Ill. Of course, this marks the final NAIA competition for Biola, as next year brings new challenges in the National Collegiate Athletics Association.

“I think the goal is just to keep the momentum going for the next two weeks, because I know it is the end of the season,” Dawson said. “We are tired, we have been going through this a long time, but I think if we keep the momentum going from GSAC, we can have some pretty cool results at Nationals.

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