Brewer Captures First-Place Title at Valley Championships
Rachael Brewer races past the competition to first-place.
Rachael Brewer races past the competition to first-place.

Nov. 2, 2013

Men's Results | Women's Results

DES MOINES, IowaRachael Brewer won the women’s individual title at the Missouri Valley Cross Country Championships Saturday afternoon with a 5,000-meter time of 17:26, earning Athlete of the Year honors.

The last Redbird woman to capture an individual title was Stacia Beste who won the outright title in the 2001 Valley championships. Brewer’s 5K time of 17:26 was two seconds ahead of second-place finisher Sarah McMahon of Bradley.

“I am just so proud of her,” said head coach Jeff Bovee. “She is one of the most determined athletes I have ever coached. Her story is really phenomenal. To go from being just a student at ISU to being the (2013) Missouri Valley Cross Country Champion. We have only had four or five women ever win a championship in the history of ISU. For her to come out and win, in a talented field, is phenomenal. It was a hilly course. The ground was soft from the rain. The time is impressive, but her efforts and placing, on a day like today, is awesome. I am so proud of her. She deserves the win. Her preparation and what she does day-to-day and on a year-round basis says a lot about her character.”

Ryan Rutherford claimed the runner-up title in the men’s race, finishing with an 8K time of 24:02, six seconds behind first-place finisher John Mascari of Indiana State, earning All-Conference honors. It was neck-and-neck throughout the course of the race, but Mascari pulled away at the end to notch the first-place title.

“Ryan ran exactly how we wanted him to run,” Bovee said. “He got up there with Mascari and set the tempo. They made it an honest race to keep away some of the guys that are kickers. Ryan is a kicker too, and we were hoping it would be honest. Hats off to Mascari. He went out and led that race from pretty much start to finish. That is really impressive. Ryan stayed with him the entire way. Rutherford tried to get by him with 800-meters to go, but Mascari covered the move and brought it home strong. Ryan ran just one heck of a race. The time he ran today, on this course, is so impressive. I am just really proud of Ryan.”

On the men’s side, the Redbirds picked up 102 team points, five points shy of second-place Loyola. Southern Illinois won the team competition with 38 total points.

Tyler Morse crossed the finish line next for the Redbird men, coming in 14th-place overall with an 8K time of 24:59 to earn him MVC honorable mention accolades.

Jeff Bajema was right behind Morse, notching a 16th-place finish with an 8,000-meter time of 25:06. Sean Senf finished 30th overall with a time of 25:35, while Dave Eckhart rounded out the scoring lineup with a 25:47 8K time.

Ryan Bybee had a personal-best with an 8K time of 26:02 to finish in 43rd. Aidan Askin notched a time of 26:32, while Paul Steeno finished with a time of 27:07.

On the women’s side, the Redbirds finished with a team total of 66 points, three points behind second-place Bradley. Southern Illinois also won the women’s competition with a total of 43 team points.

Kim Christensen was next to finish for the Redbird women, capturing a 5K time of 18:03 to finish 14th overall, earning MVC honorable mention compliments.

Haley Goers, Kristen Zillmer and Kelly McShea finished 16th, 17th and 18th with times of 18:09, 18:12 and 18:13, respectively.

Haley Verbeke tied a personal-best 5K time of 18:45 to finish 33rd. Ellen Devereux notched a 37th-place time of 18:52, and Kaley Ummel finished with a 5,000-meter time of 19:26.

“Both teams battled today,” Bovee said. “We came in seeded third for the men and second for the women. We knew it was going to be a three-team race, on the women’s side. We tied with Southern at Pre-Nationals, and Bradley beat us at home. The whole season we have been getting better and better. Today it was a matter of summer preparation. We have been trying to play catch-up all season long, and we ran out of time. Those two teams deserve the win. Hats off to Southern for winning both sides, and Coach Sparks. He just did a great job. “

The Redbirds are back in action Friday Nov. 15, as they travel to Ames, Iowa, to compete in the Midwest Regional race.