Rio’s Booth wins RSC individual title


By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing



RICHMOND, Ind. — University of Rio Grande senior Cody Booth ran to a first place finish and led the RedStorm to a tie for second place in the 2021 River States Conference Men’s Cross Country Championship, Saturday morning, at the Indiana University East course.

Booth, a native of New Philadelphia, Ohio, traversed the 8k course in a time of 26:06, nearly one minute faster than runner-up Drake Dickerson of Ohio Christian University.

By virtue of his individual finish, Booth captured RSC Runner of the Year honors, earned a spot on the all-conference first team and also secured a spot in the NAIA National Championship, which is scheduled for Nov. 19 in Vancouver, Wash.

As a team, Rio Grande tied Indiana University Kokomo for second place with 97 points — a scant one point behind champion Midway University’s total of 96 points.

IU Kokomo was awarded the runner-up nod over the RedStorm, though, based on the higher finish of its sixth runner.

In addition to Booth, Rio Grande was represented by freshman Danuel Persinger (Glouster, OH), who finished 13th in a time of 28:15; junior Austin Setty (Farifield, OH), who was 18th after crossing in 28:28; freshman Matthew Spetnagel (Chillicothe, OH), who placed 28th in a time of 28:53; senior Dean Freitag (Magnolia, OH), who was 40th in a time of 29:40; freshman Jason Springer (Circleville, OH), who finished 44th with a mark of 30:02; and sophomore Kyle Lightner (Peebles, OH), who took 57th place in a time of 31:24.

Persinger’s finish was good enough to garner second team All-RSC honors.

Joining Booth and Dickerson on the all-conference first team were Jacob Kocis and Josiah Kocis of Midway, Thomas Chapman of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Ohio Christian’s Corry Mientkiewicz and Luis Saldana of Indiana Kokomo.

Midway head coach Jay Walls was voted RSC Coach of the Year, while Chapman was the RSC Newcomer of the Year.

Along with Midway’s team, the top six individuals from other schools who earned individual bids to nationals were Booth, Dickerson, Chapman, Mientkiewicz, Saldana and Anthony Adams of St. Mary-of-the-Woods.

The RSC Champions of Character Team was also selected, with one member of each team named for best representing the NAIA five character values: Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Servant Leadership and Sportsmanship.

Rio’s honoree on the men’s list was Freitag.

University of Rio Grande sophomore Mackenzie McCarthy ran to a fourth place finish, while also earning a trip to the upcoming NAIA National Championship at Saturday’s River States Conference Women’s Cross Country Championship hosted by Indiana University East.

McCarthy, a sophomore from New Franklin, Ohio, completed the 5k course in a time of 18:56, which was 27 seconds behind individual champion Alyssa Campbell of Point Park University.

McCarthy, who also earned first team All-RSC honors, finished with a time that was among the six individuals who were not a member of the winning team, securing her a trip to Vancouver, Wash. for the national meet on November 19.

St. Mary-of-the-Woods College won the team crown in its first year as a member of the RSC with 58 points. Point Park finished second at 61 points, while IU Kokomo was third with 70 points.

Rio Grande finished sixth in the 12-team field with 189 points.

Other competing for the RedStorm included freshman Jayden Roach (Baltimore, OH), who was 18th in a time of 21:01; freshman Abrielle Kerns (Lancaster, OH), who finished 51st in a time of 23:05; freshman Alyssa Dingus (Wheelersburg, OH), who placed 61st with a finish of 23:33; and freshman Neveah Reaves (Blacklick, OH), who was 72nd after crossing in a time of 24:21.

St. Mary-of-the-Woods head coach Zach Whitkanack was voted RSC Coach of the Year. The RSC Newcomer of the Year was Breanna Alderton of Brescia.

In addition to Campbell, McCarthy and Alderton, the all-conference first team included Emily Truax of SMWC, Lexi Jackson of Indiana Kokomo, Jana Schmid of Point Park and Savannah Hart of Indiana East.

The RSC also named a Champions of Character Team was also selected with one member of each team named for best representing the NAIA five character values: Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Servant Leadership and Sportsmanship.

Roach represented Rio Grande on the women’s list.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.