LEAVENWORTH, KAN. – Bethel College has its first national qualifier in cross country since 2011.
Julio Martinez, junior from Phoenix, finished 13th at the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference’s Cross-Country Championships Nov. 5, hosted by University of St. Mary.
He paced the Threshers and advanced to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Cross-Country Championships in Elsah, Illinois.
Martinez got out strong over the opening mile, running in the top 25. Over the next mile, he was able to move up within the top 15 and stayed there over the rest of the 8K distance.
“Julio ran a great race,” said Jeff Hoskisson, Bethel cross-country coach. “Our plan was to get out well and be with the group over the opening mile.”
Martinez hit a hard spell midway through the race and dropped back but was able to regroup and pick off some runners over the final lap of the three-lap course.
“About halfway through, Julio got a side stitch and it slowed him a bit,” said Hoskisson. “He was able to recover really well and made up a number of spots.”
Martinez finished in 26:37.9 to lead the Threshers. Ryan Stuchlik, senior from Newton, finished 79th, at 32:23.6, with Ryan Ford (33:55.2), senior from Canon City, Colorado, Heath Goertzen (33:56.0), sophomore from Goessel, and Ryan LaCombe (33:56.8), freshman from Abilene, finishing 80th, 81st and 82nd respectively. Connick Roe, sophomore from Kingman, rounded out the Bethel squad in 89th with 36:25.7.
Martinez will take to the course again Nov. 19 at the NAIA Cross-Country Championships.