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Central’s Horton is Top Freshman Finisher at National Championships

Sparked by an aggressive start in the biggest race of his young career, Central College’s Eli Horton was the top freshman finisher at the NCAA Division III men’s cross country championships Saturday.

Horton capped the most notable rookie campaign in the program’s history by placing 52nd in a 280-runner field, finishing in a career-best 24 minutes, 57.81 seconds on the 8,000-meter Lake Breeze Golf Club course. That topped his previous career best time by nearly 50 seconds and vaults him from 12th to sixth on Central’s all-time 8,000-meter performers list.

Horton was running as an individual qualifier in the NCAA meet. Loras was the lone Iowa Conference school in the team competition, placing 25th in the 32-team field with 538 points. Perennial power North Central captured another title with 110 points.