LOUISVILLE, Kentucky - Simon Heys became the first Wilmington College cross country runner to earn All-American honors as the sophomore placed fifth at the NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country Championships held at Tom Sawyer State Park on Saturday morning.
Heys, who won the Pre-Nationals meet on the same course in early October, ran a time of 23:57.0, in the eight-kilometer race, edging out the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's David Fassbender by a tenth of a second. That mark is the fastest eight-kilometer time in WC cross country history and the first time an individual has broken the 24:00 mark. John Carroll University's Alex Phillip won the national championship with a time of 23:27.6. Fellow Ohio Athletic Conference runner Cal Yackin of Otterbein University finished 16th to mark the third OAC All-American.
"This was one of the best performances I've ever seen," Head Cross Country Coach Ron Combs said fight back tears. "Simon [Heys] is such a humble person and is very deserving of every honor he gets."
Hey, a local product and graduate of Wilmington High School, felt the presence of the contingent that was down there to support him.
"Today was something like a dream for me," said Heys. "I ran past all my goals this season, and having my team and family along for the ride made it that much better."