Whitaker earns All-Region honors for WC cross country

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Wilmington College men’s cross country team had two finishers inside the Top 50 that led to a 14th place finish for the team at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Meet hosted by Calvin University on Saturday morning.

Due to unsafe conditions on portions of the course, the men’s race was shortened by 500 meters.

Evan Whitaker was Wilmington’s top individual finisher, placing 25th with a time of 24:61.1. That finish, along with being likely good enough for qualification in the national meet, earned him All-Region honors. Simon Heys was next to cross for the Quakers, taking 43rd by completing the eight-kilometer course in 25:08.2.

“Evan [Whitaker] ran a fantastic race, moved up 100 spots from last year,” WC head coach Ron Combs said. “Simon [Heys] stuck his nose in there and went for All-Region honors. I think he gained experience today that will be huge for next season.”

Chase Hampton of Otterbein University won the individual regional title with a time of 24:02.4.

Ryan Honkomp was third to finish for Wilmington placing 100th with a mark of 26:00.2. Gage Clemens (26:25.6) and Taton Bertsch (26:33.5) rounded out the Quakers’ scorers.

“We’ve made huge strides this season with our group being mainly unproven and inexperienced,” said Combs. “I’m very proud of what they’ve done to change the culture of our program. All of the guys that competed today will return next season.”

Host Calvin won the regional with 43 points while Otterbein took second with 64 points. Wilmington had 433 points for its 14th place finish.