HOUGHTON, N.Y. – Central Christian College distance runner Matthew Haynes competed in the recent NCCAA National Cross Country Championships, hosted by Houghton College.
Haynes competed in the NCCAA I men's 8K race, finishing 157th out of 195 with a time of 30:57.3. The race was won by Emmanuel College's Tucker Hilley, who finished with a time of 25:05.8, just one second in front of Bryant Keirns of Oklahoma Christian University.
"It was about 32 degrees with a very light snow beginning to fall when the men's race started,” CCC coach Dan Swaney said. "The snowfall gradually got stronger as the race went on. It was just falling hard enough toward the end that as the runners ran into the snow in the fourth mile and again in the last 200-300 meters, the flakes would fly in their eyes and disrupt their rhythm. Matt ran well for the first two miles of the race and had a shot at breaking 30 minutes for the third time this season before falling off significantly in the third and fourth miles. It was nice to see him come back with a strong final mile in his last race of the year."
That capped Swaney’s first season leading the cross country program.
"This season definitely had its ups and downs and some things didn't go quite as I had expected, but I'm happy with the effort that our men's and women's teams gave,” he said. “There were a few goals I had for the team that were, I'll admit, a little on the high side and we didn't achieve some of them, so that was a little disappointing but in many ways I think it's OK to not be satisfied because that gives us all a little more motivation to do well next year.”
Swaney said he can learn from the experience.
“I've also learned that when a new coach is trying to make some major changes to a program it's not uncommon for the first year to be a little rough,” he said. “Now we have a better understanding of where we are and what it's going to take to do better next year and reach those goals we didn't get this season. Now we need to start getting ready for the track season. I'm already looking forward to next cross country season because I think we're going to do a lot better."