The men’s cross country program at Shawnee State put together a fitting capper to a 2019 season that ranks among the best in program history as the Bears collected their best finish at the NAIA National Championships in six years with a seventh place showing in the 64th edition of the event, which was held at the Fort Vancouver National Site in Vancouver, Wash. on Friday.
Shawnee State, who posted 228 points to place seventh in the 37-team field, finished just three points behind St. Mary’s (Kan.) for sixth place. The Bears also finished within 25 points of a top-five showing as the College of Idaho, who entered the national championships with a second-place ranking in the national poll, collected 203 points as a team.
Seth Farmer, who finished the season as the Bears’ top finisher in every 8K race that the senior competed in on the year, posted his best personal finish at the NAIA National Championships with a 10th-place showing to head up Shawnee State’s scoring barrage. The Piketon, Ohio native ran a 25:10 to obtain his second straight NAIA All-American honor as a result of his outstanding pace on the Fort Vancouver course.
Behind Farmer, fellow senior Steven Adams posted a strong time of his own by collecting a stout mark of 25:37 on Friday. Adams, a senior from Ashville, Ohio, finished just nine seconds outside of NAIA All-American honors and the top-30 overall in an excellent showing.
A well-balanced effort from that point forward allowed Shawnee State to set another outstanding standard as a team, as Hunter Hoover, Josh Metzung, and Jonah Phillips finished 63rd, 70th, and 80th overall with marks of 26:04, 26:08, and 26:15. Metzung and Hoover will both return for their senior seasons while Phillips, the Mid-South Conference’s Freshman of the Year, will be back for three additional campaigns with Shawnee State.
In addition to the five top-100 runners that comprised Shawnee State’s overall team score, local Scioto County natives Hunter Bennington and Aiden Kammler represented the South Webster and Portsmouth communities in a standout fashion with their own quick times. Bennington, who finished 101st overall, ran a 26:23, while Kammler finished right behind Bennington as his 26:26 led the freshman to a 105th place mark. Bennington has a season of eligibility remaining and Kammler, like Phillips, has three seasons remaining with the Bears.
The seventh place finish for Shawnee State in this season’s national championships is the Bears’ best showing since Shawnee State finished seventh in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013. The 2019 group’s seventh-place finish marks the 11th time in school history that the Bears have finished in the top-20 and the seventh time that SSU has finished in the top-10. Oklahoma City (110), Taylor (171), Lewis-Clark (187), and Embry-Riddle (195) filled out the first through fourth positions overall.
Along with Adams and Farmer, Jacob Kemper, Owen Reeher, Mark Scott, Tim Secoy, and Shane Washington also finished up their eligibility as cross country student-athletes for Shawnee State. The senior class was a part of three teams who collected finishes inside the national top-15, including a 10th place as freshmen, a 13th place mark as juniors, and the seventh place that SSU obtained this season.