by Alan Babbitt
Hope College cross country runner Nick Hoffman broke the 26-minute barrier for the first time on Saturday.
He was joined by several teammates who clocked lifetime bests during the Greater Louisville Classic.
Head coach Mark Northuis said the Flying Dutchmen fared well during the 8K race at Sawyer State Park. Hope finished 27th out of 40 teams in the Silver Division.
"We came and competed," Northuis said. "Nick was our first runner, then we had a strong pack after him. We had five runners within 30 seconds of each other. They ran together and pushed each other. We were a little buried at the start and need to get out faster. Overall, it was a strong performance.
Hoffman, pictured left, placed 86th out of 276 runners. The sophomore from Holland, Michigan (Holland HS) posted a time of 25 minutes, 53.7 seconds.
Sophomore Evan Bleitz of Saline, Michigan (Saline), pictured right, was next for Hope with a 177th-place time of 27:05.2.
Junior Zackary Murphy of Coldwater, Michigan (Coldwater) took 184th by recording a time of 27:11.9.
Junior Drew Schmitz of Westfield, Indiana (Westfield) finished 185th at 27:12.3.
Freshman Max Gutwein of Westfield, Indiana (Westfield) completed Hope's scoring with a 190th-place effort of 27:15.8.
Freshman Luke Shoemaker of Elkhart, Indiana (Concord) was next to cross the finish line in 200th at 27:28.7.
Freshman Gabriel DeYoung of Seagertown, Pennsylvania (Saegertown) came in 233rd for Hope at 28:23.4.
The Flying Dutchmen next will run at the Muskegon Community College Invitational on Friday, October 11 at 2 p.m.