Hiegel Headlines ODAC Showing at NCAA Cross Country Championships

Bridgewater College junior Jamie Hiegel
Bridgewater College junior Jamie Hiegel

ELSAH, Ill. --- Bridgewater College junior Jamie Hiegel headlined a set of ODAC runners for the third straight race on Saturday afternoon in Elsah, Ill., as he led a group of five runners from conference member institutions at the 2017 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships.

Prinicipia College served as championship host at its North Farm Cross Country Course in southwest Illinois near the Mississippi River. Both the men's and women's races featured 279 competitors with four men and one woman carrying their school and ODAC banners. The men's eight-kilometer competition preceded the women's six-kilometer race in what turned out to be quite adverse conditions with cold temperatures and rain.

RELATED: Men's Results | Women's Results

For the second straight season, Hiegel paced ODAC runners on both sides of the ledger. He didn't quite match his 59th-place finish from a season ago, but did crack the top-70 by finishing 65th overall. His time of 25:16.36 was just 5.36 seconds off his mark from last year despite the inclement weather.

Virginia Wesleyan University senior Marissa Coombs capped her collegiate career with a second straight appearance on the national stage. After finishing 160th in 2016, she improved her finish by 30 spots to chime in 130th overall at 22:25.90. Coombs, like Hiegel, gutted thru the weather to nearly match her time from last year (22:21.3).

Two the three Generals representing Washington and Lee University competed among the nation's best for a second time. Senior MacKenzye Leroy and junior Cooper Baird were both a part of the W&L squad that competed in Louisville, Ky., last year, while junior teammate Hank Patrick made his first NCAA appearance. Leroy led the group in 134th position at 25:42.30, while Baird stopped the watches 174th at 25:52.76. Patrick slotted 221st at 26:16.65. Leroy was about 12 seconds off his 2016 pace, while Baird improved his standard by nearly 30 seconds and climbed the ladder 52 rungs in the final results.

Johns Hopkins University won the women's team title for a second straight season with just 96 points, nearly defeating second-place University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire by 100 points. Khia Kurtenbach from the University of Chicago won the individual competition in 20:39.20.

North Centrall College (Ill.) matched JHU's women by claiming the men's crown for a second time in as many years. The Cardinals accumulated just 57 points to win by 139 markers over University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The individual trophy went to UW-Eau Claire's Darin Lau in 24:03.59.

For more information, click the links above for full results or go to www.ncaa.com. You can also visit the websites of any of the participating schools or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram