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Sept. 1 - NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – The Bethany College men’s and women’s cross country teams opened up the 2007 season Saturday afternoon by competing at the Westminster (Pa.) College Invitational. The women finished sixth out of 10 teams, while the men were seventh out of nine.

Penn State Behrend’s men won the team title by scoring 26 points, well in front of Gannon (Pa.) University’s 52, while the Bison finished with 188 to finish ahead of Hiram (Ohio) College and Pitt-Bradford. Bethany’s women scored 147 to place higher than Westminster, Hiram and incomplete teams from Thiel (Pa.) College and Pitt-Bradford. Franciscan (Ohio) University finished first for the women with a team score of 43 to nose out Gannon (52).

The men’s team did have the highest Bison finisher of the day, as sophomore Zach Foster (Shadyside, Ohio/Bellaire St. John’s) earned fifth place out of a 78-runner field with a time of 28:37.4. He also finished third among Division III runners, behind only Kevin Gorny (second) and Andy Iams (third) from Penn State Behrend. The men’s winner was Scott Gemberling from Division II Alderson-Broaddus, while Dan Shepard from Gannon, a NAIA institution, placed fourth.

Other runners for the BC men included freshman Clifford Arbogast (Cameron, W.Va.), who placed 42nd, junior Matt Schlemmer (Canton, Ohio/Oak Glen), who was 55th, sophomore Patrick Miller (Canonsburg, Pa./Chartiers-Houston), who took 59th, and freshmen Kevin Fedigan (Pittsburgh, Pa./Plum) and Benjamin Heidt (Heidelberg, Germany), who finished 72nd and 73rd respectively.

Bethany’s women had two freshmen and a senior pace their efforts in Saturday’s race, which featured 101 competitors. Earning top honors for the squad was Suzanne Stettinius (Parkton, Md./Hereford), whose time of 21:27.6 placed her 20th overall. Coming in three spots behind her was Emily Roth, who took 23rd with a time of 21:38.8, while senior Chantal Stettinius (Parkton, Md./Hereford) claimed 27th place by coming in with a time of 21:51.8.

The remainder of BC’s runners also crossed the finish line in packs. Sophomore Desiree Finley (Nanticoke, Pa./Hanover Area) was 53rd, sophomore Alissa Moss (Washington, Pa./Chartiers-Houston) finished 56th, freshmen Caitlin Gregory (Fairfax, Va./Chantilly) and Lindsay Brewer (Wadsworth, Ohio) crossed 64th and 65th respectively, and senior Heather Moore (Washington, Pa.) placed 67th.

Rounding out the Bison runners were junior Laura Strassguetl (Munich, Germany/Rupprecht-Gymnasium), sophomore Sara Card (Cadillac, Mich./Christian Liberty Academy) and freshman Alessandra Accinelli (Novato, Calif./Marin School of Art & Technology).

Bethany’s harriers will hit the trails again next Saturday when they compete at the Bob Creamer Memorial in Wheeling, W.Va.