Previewing the course where the NCAA Division III regional men’s cross country title will be contested Nov. 12, Central College’s Mark Fairley (junior, Dubuque) captured the individual crown in the whimsically named Running of the Cows hosted by Carleton College (Minn.) Saturday. Fairley topped a 244-runner field, covering the 8,000-meter course in 25:39.0 while fellow team co-captain Isaac Steffensmeier (senior, Fort Madison) followed closely in third in 25:55.4.
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The Dutch were sixth in the 14-team meet. Iowa Conference rival Loras College won with 42 points, easily outdistancing Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.), which finished with 128. Luther College was third with 144 and Central had 168.
Coach Joe Dunham was pleased with the performance from the upperclassmen.
“I’m proud of our captains today,” he said. “To go first and third in this race was encouraging for our guys.”
Taylor Donner (junior, Dubuque) followed Steffensmeier in 48th (27:38.9), Kyle Pape (sophomore, Dubuque, Wahlert Catholic HS) was 57th (27:46.6), Tanner Rathje (junior, Marion, Linn-Mar HS) was 59th (27:50.4), Jon Specht (junior, Dubuque, Hempstead HS) was 65th (28:03.0) and Eli Miller (freshman, Newhall, Benton Community HS) finished 73rd (28:15.6).
Dunham had a goal for his team prior to the race.
“I told the men we needed to walk away from the race with some sort of improvement,” said Dunham. “Overall as a team I feel we did that. Our 1-7 gap still needs to improve, and our men know that.”
After taking next weekend off, Central makes one of the longest regular-season trips in the program’s history, journeying to Waterford, Connecticut for the Connecticut College Invitational October 15. That race will be the last preparation the Dutch have before the Iowa Conference Championships October 29 at Storm Lake.