AURORA, Ill. – The Harper College men's cross country team opened up its season by placing first of the junior college teams at the Aurora University Spartan Classic on Friday. Overall, the Hawks placed sixth out of 15 teams.
Freshmen Juan Barajas (/Schaumburg) and Zach Stella (/Palatine) led the charge for the Hawks in their college debuts. Barajas ran an excellent race and placed 29th with a time of 26:45 in the 8K race while Stella placed 37thwith a time of 26:56.
Sophomore Nick Modlin (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling) was Harper's third runner to cross the finish line, completing the race in 54th place in 27:36. Sophomore Jhoan Lino (León, Guanajuato/Streamwood)placed 63rd in 27:54, and freshman Sebastian Ramirez (/Palatine) rounded out the top five by placing 76th in 28:23.
The Hawks, who are currently ranked second in the most recent NJCAA Div. III poll, scored 191 points to finish ahead of seventh place Illinois Wesleyan (209 points). The University of Chicago placed five runners, including individual champion Dan Povitsky (25:03) in the top six to win the meet with 18 points.
The North Central varsity team claimed second place with 41 points, and the North Central freshman team took third place with 81 points. The host team took fourth place with 122 points, followed by Wheaton College in fifth place with 145 points.
Up next, the Hawks will race at the Illinois Intercollegiate at Olivet Nazarene University on Friday at 4:15 PM.