HUTCHINSON, Kan., - Despite Mother Nature's best effort to dampen the evening, the Bethel College cross country team kicked off their 2017 season in fine fashion at the Terry Masterson Twilight Classic Friday night at the Fun Valley Sports Complex.

Mother Nature tried to spoil the evening by causing two lightening delays but in the end the runners won out. Running under the lights, the women's race covered three miles while the men ran four miles. Julio Martinez (SR/Phoenix, Ariz.) led the way for the men, with newcomer Jennifer Meysing (FR/Goessel, Kan.) pacing the way for the women.


"Despite all the delays, the athletes handled things very well and performed as good as we had hoped," remarked Threshers head coach Jeff Hoskisson.


The women's start was delayed 30 minutes but once started the Thresher ladies ran very controlled and worked their way up through the field. Meysing, Jordan Hill (JR/Augusta, Kan.), and Kiley Varney (SR/Hesston, Kan.) ran near each other over the first loop of the three-loop race. Near the end of the first mile Meysing opened a small gap between herself and her teammates. The trio continued to work their way past runners over the final two laps. Meysing and Hill, in their first ever collegiate races, finished in 51st in 21:24.07 and 65th place in 22:23.96, respectively. Varney ran 22:29.69 to finish 68th.


"Our ladies ran very well. For Jennifer and Jordan it was their first race at the collegiate level and they both handled it very well," offered Hoskisson. "Kiley did just what she also does and gave us a strong, solid performance."


On the men's side, Martinez picked up where he left off last fall. Starting very conservatively, he worked his way up through the field over the 4-lap race. Mid pack over the first mile, he continued to pass runners over the remaining 3 miles. A strong finish resulted in a 26th place finish running 22:15.05.


"Julio ran a really smart race," said Hoskisson. "He isn't in as good of shape right now as he was last year at this time, but his time was just as fast as last year. This speaks well for his ability to race."


Thomas Schott (FR/Miller Place, N.Y.), running his first collegiate race, acquitted himself very well. Like Martinez, he started conservatively and continued to work his way up through the field. He finished in 62nd place with a time of 23:40.24


"I am extremely pleased with the way that Thomas raced tonight," Hoskisson stated. "He was a little nervous before the race, but he did just what we asked of him and ran a really good race for his first ever college race."


The Thresher harriers will be in action again this weekend at the Warrior Invitational in Sterling. Action gets under way at 9:00 AM with the men's 8K. The women's 5K will start at 9:45 AM.