NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – For the fifth time since 2008, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's Most Valuable Runner award will be at home in the athletic suite of Manchester University's Physical Education and Recreation Center.
Senior Blake Harris (Fort Wayne, Ind.) left little doubt of adding his name to what former standouts Andy Williams, Curtis Nordmann and Connor Bresnahan had accomplished before him. He sailed to a 25:41.08 finish around his home 8K course over MU's campus which included a rousing greeting at the finish line from some of the former Black and Gold standouts.
"It was great to see some past teammates come back and support us today," Harris, a two-time all-conference honoree, said. "It feels good to be able to accomplish something like this. It definitely means a lot."
"I could not be more happy for Blake Harris and watching the success he had today," Coach Geoff Lambert said. "He came back for a fifth year and has been a great captain for us."
Harris' second-fastest collegiate clocking bested the field by 26 seconds. A pair of underclassmen followed him across the line for the Black and Gold, as sophomore Sam Barnard (Indianapolis, Ind.) and freshman Lucas Fontanez (Lowell, Ind.) also wound up in the top 30, taking 23rd and 30th, respectively. The Black and Gold tallied 113 points in the team race, slipping past league rival Anderson University by one point for fourth. Rose-Hulman, placing seven individuals in the top 20, took the championship with 52 points, defeating runner-up Hanover College by 23.
The Spartans break from competition next weekend to prepare for the 2017 NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Saturday, Nov. 11.