Pence wins regional as Eagles punch ticket to nationals

Pence wins regional as Eagles punch ticket to nationals

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Senior Tyler Pence (Springfield, Illinois) finished first out of 202 runners to capture his first NCAA Division II Midwest Region title, leading the No. 5 University of Southern Indiana men's cross country team to a third-place finish in the 29-team field Saturday morning at Angel Mounds.

Pence, one of two Screaming Eagles to place in the top five, completed the 10-kilometer race in 30 minutes, 24.6 seconds, more than four seconds ahead of Grand Valley State University's Alan Peterson, who was second with a time of 30:28.7. Pence's time lifts him to third on the Eagles' all-time 10k cross country list.

In addition to Pence, junior Johnnie Guy (Palmyra, Indiana)—the defending regional champion and 2014 NCAA II national champion in the 10,000 meters—was fifth with a time of 30:41.6. Both Pence and Guy earn All-Midwest Region honors for their efforts, while Pence will be named the 2014 NCAA II Midwest Region Runner of the Year.

As a team, the Eagles finished with 101 points, 10-behind second-place and No. 12-ranked Malone University and 58 away from the first-place and No. 2-ranked Lakers of Grand Valley State.

With their finish, the Eagles qualify for the NCAA II National Championships for the 10th straight season. In addition to Grand Valley State and Malone, No. 20 Ashland University claimed the final berth to the national meet with its fourth-place finish. The Ashland Eagles edged fifth-place and No. 19-ranked University of Wisconsin-Parkside by a point for the final team berth.

In addition to Pence and Guy, the Eagles had seven runners finish in the top 44, with senior Hunter Motz (Wadesville, Indiana) finishing 27th, just two spots away from an All-Region honor. Junior Tyler Schickel (Poseyville, Indiana) and sophomore Noah Lutz (Evansville, Indiana) were 32nd and 36th, respectively, while sophomore Jason Head (New Salisbury, Indiana) and senior Solomon Bennett (Henderson, Nevada) were 38th and 44th, respectively.

Individuals to qualify for the national meet included Hillsdale College's Joshua Mirth, Wisconsin-Parkside's Evan Lewandowski, and Michigan Tech University's Sean Pengelly.

The NCAA II National Championships are December 6 at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky, and are part of the NCAA II Fall Sports Festival. The men's 10k is slated for a 10 a.m. (CST) start, while the women's 6k is scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m.

Provided by USI Sports Information Department