LOUISVILLE, Ky. --- Tusculum University's Nicole McMillen claimed her second race win of the season at the Live In Lou Cross Country Classic, held Saturday morning at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.
McMillen won the women's Blue Division five-kilometer run with a time of 17:43.55, beating runner-up Sarah Harden of Taylor by more than 11 seconds in the field of 531 competitors. For the men, Kyler Hodges broke the school 8K record and finished in 10th place as the Pioneer men took 20th overall in a field of 57 teams with 571 points.
The Tusculum women were 33rd overall out of 62 schools with 847 points in the Blue Division, which was one of three college divisions in the meet.
The Pioneers will be back in action next Saturday, October 12 at the Bobcat Invitational, hosted by Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia.
McMillen led from start to finish, covering the first 2.1 kilometers in 7:06.7 and the opening 3.9 kilometers in 13:30.0 to hold a 15 second-lead entering the final kilometer. In three races this season, McMillen has two victories and a second-place finish, and has finished in the top five in five of her six career races.
Alissa Furches was 73rd overall with a time of 19:27.73, while Gabrielle Beckett and Emmi Hulse finished back-to-back after gaining nearly 50 spots over the final half of the race, as Beckett was 297th in 21:06.42 and Hulse took 298th in 21:06.87. Erin Bruce was the fifth scorer for the Pioneers, taking 320th place in 21:17.72.
ETSU put four runners in the top 20 and won the team title with 104 points, followed by St. Francis (Illinois) with 113 points and Taylor in third at 118 points.
Hodges was in 41st place at the quarter point of the eight-kilometer race, and battled his way to 27th place by the midway mark. Hodges ended up in 10th place overall in the field of 513 finishers with a time of 24:58.00, the fourth top-10 finish of his career. Former two-time SAC Runner of the Year and three-time All-Region athlete Simon Holzapfel held the previous school record of 25:04 set while winning the 2010 SAC Championship.
Taylor Tupps finished in 72nd place at 25:58.84, followed by Alex Perez in 177th place with a time of 27:04.74. Kyle Stanley was 193rd in a personal-best time of 27:13.61, and Carson Walls was the fifth scorer and fifth Pioneer to finish in the top half of the field, placing 231st in 27:33.66 which broke his personal best by six seconds.
Also running for the Pioneers were Antonio Aparicio, in 338th place at 28:25.71, Max Blevins who ran 28:42.97 and was 364th overall, and Isaac Hybarger who crossed the line in 31:03.79 to take 470th overall.
Geoffrey Bwalley of Monroe College led wire-to-wire and was the race winner, covering the course in 24:10.89 to beat runner-up Ero Doce of Lindenwood by more than 17 seconds. North Central placed three runners in the top 10 and had 57 points to win the team title, ahead of St. Francis (Illinois) with 67 points.
Live In Lou Cross Country Classic
Tusculum finishers: 1. Nicole McMillen, 17:43.55; 73. Alissa Furches, 19:27.73; 297. Gabrielle Beckett, 21:06.42; 298. Emmi Hulse, 21:06.87; 320. Erin Bruce, 21:17.72.
Team finishers (top 5): 1. ETSU, 104; 2. St. Francis (Ill.), 113; 3. Taylor, 118; 4. Aquinas, 138; 5. Monroe, 225; 33. Tusculum, 847.
Tusculum finishers: 10. Kyler Hodges, 24:58.00; 72. T.J. Tupps, 25:58.84; 177. Alex Perez, 27:04.74; 193. Kyle Stanley, 27:13.61; 231. Carson Walls, 27:33.66; 338. Antonio Aparicio, 28:25.71; 364. Max Blevins, 28:42.97; 470. Isaac Hybarger, 31:03.79.
Team finishers (top 5): 1. North Central, 57; 2. St. Francis (Ill.), 67; 3. Indiana University Track Club, 240; 4. Detroit Mercy, 269; 5. Western Kentucky, 339; 20. Tusculum, 571.