WILMINGTON, Ohio - The Wilmington College men's cross country team turned in two top five performances and a runner-up finish in the season-opening Quaker Open on Friday evening.
The Fightin' Quakers finished with 43 points as a team, 10 behind the winners from the University of Mount Union. The Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) schools were 45 points ahead of the rest of the field as Earlham College came in third with 89 points as a team.
Simon Heys, a freshman from Wilmington High School, took second individually with a time of 16:05.9 on the five-kilometer course. He finished less than 10 seconds behind the winner, Braeden Wallace of Marietta College. Reigning OAC Freshman of the Year Evan Whitaker was next to cross the finish line for the Quakers, doing so in 16:16.1.
"Simon [Heys] beat Preston Myers [the third place finisher from Mount Union] and he nearly won the conference two years ago," Head Men's Cross Country Coach Ron Combs said. "That's some good company to be running with in his first collegiate race. Evan [Whitaker] was right there too along with a nice back behind those guys."
The pack Combs is referring to is Ryan Honkomp (16:48.0), Taton Bertsch (16:56.7) and Cameron Phelps (17:00.9) who took 12th, 13th and 14th place respectively to round out Wilmington's top five. Josh Cyrus (17:16.5) and Gage Clemens (17:25.3) also slid into the top 25 individually.
"We have a top seven that are really strong and an eighth and ninth that are knocking on the door," said Combs. "I like where we are at right now."
Wilmington has the next week off before heading to Ohio Wesleyan University on Sept. 14.