NEWBERG, Ore. – After leading their teams to first-place finishes in the season-opening Pacific Dual Meet on Sept. 1, George Fox University cross country runners Courtney Hochstetler and Joseph Pia have been named the Bruin Women’s and Men’s Athletes of the Week respectively for the week of Aug. 27-Sept. 2.
Hochstetler, a sophomore from Salem, Ore., finished a solid second in the three-lap 5K women’s race at Willamette Mission State Park after leading the event for all but the final quarter-mile or so. A strong closing burst by Rachel Schreiber of Pacific enabled the Boxers’ best runner to overtake her for the individual crown with a time of 19:20.2 to Hochstetler’s 19:24.5. However, the Bruins hung on to claim the team title, 27 points to 28.
Pia, a junior from Newberg, Ore., took the lead early and cruised to victory in the men’s 5K, pulling away from runner-up Tyler Shipley of Pacific in the third and final lap to win by over 21 seconds. Pia ran a time of 15:36.7 to a 15:57.8 by the Boxers’ top finisher. With Pia leading the charge, the Bruins topped the Boxers, who were rated seventh in the NCAA Division III West Region pre-season rankings by the United States Track and Field and Cross County Coaches Association, 25 points to 32.
In addition to being the first George Fox Athletes of the Week this academic year, Hochstetler and Pia also received honorable mention for the Northwest Conference Women’s and Men’s Athletes of the Week.
The wins were the first for the Bruins under new head cross country coach Randy Dalzell, who will also be an assistant track and field coach under head coach John Smith. Dalzell came to George Fox after seven years building an NAIA national power in cross country and track and field at Concordia University-Portland.
NEXT: George Fox will compete in the Big Wave Invitational, hosted by the University of Hawai’i-Manoa, in Honolulu on Saturday, Sept. 8. Both races will be 5K events, with the women running at 7:05 a.m. Hawai’i time (9:05 a.m. Pacific time) and the men at 7:45 a.m. (9:45 a.m. Pacific time). The event will be staged at the Hawai’i Marine Corps Base’s Kane’ohe Kipper Golf Course on the northeast side of the island of Oahu.