Louisville, Ky. -- Two University of Lynchburg cross country runners represented the Hornets Saturday at the NCAA Division III cross country championships, held at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky.
Sophomore Max Sparks ran to a 138th-place finish, clocking in at 25:43.5 over the muddy 8k course, his fourth-fastest time of the season.
Junior Stephanie Burnett used a late-race push to finish 173rd in the women's 6k (23:22.9).
Despite the conditions, Sparks dropped nearly 2 seconds from his time on the same course October 5 at the Louisville Classic.
The finish was also an improvement from the Canton, Conn., native's national finish a season ago, when he finished 172nd in bitter-cold conditions.
For Burnett, the Midlothian native and program's 6k record-holder, the national championship experience was her first. Starting out toward the back of the pack, she moved ahead 49 places over the second half of the race.
Stevenson senior Patrick Watson claimed the men's individual title, while Pomona-Pitzer claimed its first-ever team championship.
Ithaca's Parley Hannan ran away with the women's individual title, winning by 18 seconds. Johns Hopkins reclaimed the team title for the third time in the past four seasons.
The 2019 season was the 31st that Lynchburg has sent a cross country runner to the national meet in the 43-year history of the Division III event and the seventh time that both a Hornet man and woman have qualified for the race.
Sparks' finish was the highest for a Lynchburg man since Cody Stanton earned an All-America nod with a 25th-place finish in 2012.