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Wilmington College Men's Cross Country 2019 Season in Review

The men's cross country team finished the opening invitational placing runner-up in a field of seven teams.
Simon Heys, in his first collegiate race, finished runner-up on the 5-kilometer course with a time of 5:10.6.
Evan Whitaker, the 2018 Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Freshman of the Year, crossed the finish line in ifth place with a time of 5:13.9.

The month of September saw Wilmington competing in two events on the road. The first of these was the Ohio Wesleyan University Invitational on Sept. 14. At that event, the Quakers finished 3rd-of-11 teams.

The second was the All-Ohio Intercollegiate Championships, hosted by Cedarville on Sept. 28. Wilmington improved from its placement in 2018, finishing the event in 19th place and as the ninth NCAA Division III team.

Wilmington returned home for two events in October including one of the biggest events on the calendar every year - the JennaStrong Fall Classic. Formerly the Wilmington Fall Classic, this meet got renamed in honor of former Wilmington runner Jenna Parlette in 2013. Parlette, a member of the women's cross country team, was leading a race at Franklin College in the fall of 2013 only to collapse with the finish line in sight. She passed away three days later.

In a field of 36 teams including several NCAA Division I and II institutions, the Quakers finished with 222 points as the top NCAA Division III school at the meet. Similar to the Quaker Open, Heys and Whitaker led the team individually as both placed inside the top 30.

George Rickett running at the JennaStrong Fall Classic.

Evan Whitaker and Simon Heys running at the JennaStrong Fall Classic.

Captain Josh Cyrus running at the JennaStrong Fall Classic.

Austin Wampler making a turn at the JennaStrong Fall Classic.

The Quaker's last home meet of the year was a dual race against Muskingum University, a team Wilmington would see two weeks later at the OAC Championships.

Wilmington dominated the dual, earning the top five finishes and 9-of-10 to cross the finish line.

The month of November featured two post-season races for Wilmington - the OAC Championships in Twinsburg, Ohio, on November 2 and the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Meet in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Nov. 16.

Wilmington finished sixth place at the 2020 OAC in sixth place, marking the program's best finish in six seasons. The Quakers finished with 152 points as a team, just 11 points behind Heidelberg University for a spot in the top half of the league. Otterbein University claimed the 2019 OAC championship, edging host John Carroll University 41-44.

Both Evan Whitaker and Simon Heys garnered Second Team All-OAC honors for their respective finishes.

"I think the men's team is not satisfied with where we finished as a team as we missed our goal going of finishing in the top half of the league," Head Men's Cross Country Coach Ron Combs said. " Even still, we were only 11 points out of fourth place. Evan [Whitaker] and Simon [Heys] battled with the best guys in the OAC."

Postseason honors for men's cross country included being honored by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association of America (USTFCCCA) with its All-Academic Team Award. Additionally, seven Quakers - Gage Clemens, Josh Cyrus, George Rickett, Austin Wampler, Julio Olivarez, Evan Whitaker and Cameron Phelps - garnered Academic All-OAC recognition.