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Georgetown College men's and women's cross country achieved a first in Tiger athletics through their selflessness and community-centered outreach this season.
Friday evening at the honors banquet for the NAIA Cross Country National Championship meet, the men's team received the NAIA Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Award for all these efforts. However, coach Lucas Garnett is quick to point out, this award is an acknowledgement for both teams.
This award was created to recognize one team in each sport based upon their documented display of exemplary character and sportsmanship during practice, competition, on campus and in the community and no other Georgetown team has ever received this award. The NAIA Cross Country Coaches Association Officers was the voting body for this honor.
The NAIA builds its foundation on a program it started – Champions of Character. This is designed to help athletes grow beyond the competition field with focuses on five core values of: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
Learning that everything has a use and a purpose is a lesson that lasts for a lifetime. It is one Georgetown College men's and women's cross country team has helped to spread to the campus and local community.
Through the team's shoe drive, students, faculty, staff and the public realized that shoes in their closets might be old to them, but usable in another way. The harriers encouraged the donation of those unused foot apparel to either be given to a company to recycle or if still wearable donate to a local charity.
The response was awe-inspiring. Over the three week collection time nearly 500 pairs were brought in and so coach Lucas Garnett extended the drop off period and challenged everyone to help reach the half century mark.
Postseason time is starting to roll through the fall sport teams and this past weekend Georgetown College men's and women's cross country teams celebrated a great season with the banquet and finished it off with a strong showing in the races Saturday.
Tayler Godar finished her final conference championship with a third-straight qualification to the NAIA National Women's Cross Country Meet Nov. 21 in McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, NC.
With her ninth-place finish, she also became the second female Tigers harrier to MSC All-Conference honors all four years.
"What Tayler has accomplished over her career here speaks for its," said GC coach Lucas Garnett. "She is an extremely driven runner and it has been a pleasure to be around her these past four years. Tayler is one of the best runners to come through here, which says a lot with the females we've had."
Georgetown College men's and women's cross country teams finished strong in Saturday's Mid-South Conference Championships.
The women finished fifth out of nine teams and Tayler Godar punched her ticket to a fifth straight NAIA national championship event – third straight NAIA Women's Cross Country Meet.
Godar finished eighth in a time of 19 minutes 26 seconds and two hundredths of a second. She also earned first-team all-conference.
But it was the harriers behind her that allowed the Tigers to finish so high in the race. Kristen Just ran a 20:23.4 for a 17th place finish. Kayla Dudick ran another personal record with a 21:40 after starting the season with a 26:40.
Georgetown College men's and women's cross country meet took its longest trip of the season and continued to show great upward mobility at the Sand Shark Invitational in Bluffton, S.C.
The female harriers took 15th place as the five scoring runners were just shy of four minutes apart. Tayler Godar led the pack, crossing in 18 minutes, 38 seconds, eight-hundredths of a second. She finished 14th overall. Kristen Just was just more than a minute behind in 19:46.66. The next three runners were more stacked, keeping the team score high.
"We ran well today," said GC coach Lucas Garnett. "Tayler continued her steady improvement, trimming more than 10 seconds. Kristen ran under 20 minutes for the first time this season."