Austin Hill-Pella-GVU
©Doug Wells 2019

Vikings Off to Good Start

 Isaiah Wittrock-Richland-GVU ©Doug Wells 2019

Isaiah Wittrock-Richland-GVU
©Doug Wells 2019

The men’s indoor track and field team was crowned champions of the Chelsey M. Henkenius Open on Saturday.  The Vikings took home the team crown with 187 total points.

Courtesy Vikings Athletics, click here!  Feature photo: © Austin Hill-Pella-GVU©Doug Wells 2019

 

Viking Champions…

In the men’s 60-meter dash it was Austin Kalar (FR/Bettendorf, Iowa) who was victorious with a time of 7.20 seconds.

Carter Huyser (FR/Oskaloosa, Iowa) won the 600-meter run with a time of 1:23.15.

Grand View’s Ben Huftalin (JR/Osage, Iowa) broke the school-record in the 1 Mile run.  Huftalin posted a time of 4:24.89.

Daniel Headley (SR/Melbourne, Florida) won the Long Jump even with a jump of 6.84 meters.

In the shot put, Grand View’s Austin Hill (SR/Pella, Iowa) won the event with a toss of 14.64 meters.

Clay Siefken (SR/Burlington, Iowa) won the weight throw with a toss of 17.50 meters.

Notable Finishers…

Trey Albert (FR/Eldon, Iowa) finished in 7th place in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.40 seconds.

In the 200-meter finals, Jake Clouse had the fastest time for Grand View with a 23.09 second post.  Clouse finished in 3rd place.   Malachi Thongvanh (SO/Adel, Iowa) and Timothi McMaster rounded out the top 5.

Leo Desequeira (FR/Davenport, Iowa) finished in 2nd place overall in the 400-meter dash.  Anthony Dixon (SO/Fresno, California) finished in 5th place overall.

In the 600-meter run Talon Munger (SO/Oskaloosa, Iowa) finished in 5th place with a time of 1:24.11.

Ahren Davis (SO/Ankeny, Iowa) also broke the school-record for the 1-mile run, but he finished in 2nd place to his teammate, Ben Huftalin.  Davis posted a time of 4:26.95.

The team of Tyler Miller (SO/Madrid, Iowa), Isaiah Wittrock (SO/Richland, Iowa), Alonzo Rodriguez-Spencer (JR/Buffalo, New York), and Carter Huyser finished in 2nd place in the 4X400 meter relay.

Trent Beck competed in the high jump and finished in 4th place overall.  Beck also finished in 2nd place overall in the long jump.

In the Pole Vault, AJ Babino (FR/Spring, Texas) finished in 3rd place overall

Zach Stacy (SO/West Des Moines, Iowa) finished in 2nd place in the shot put, Niles Siefken (SO/Burlington, Iowa) finished in 3rd place overall, while Clay Siefken finished in 4th place.  Tyler Goeller (SR/Fairbank, Iowa) rounded out the top 5 with a 5thplace finish in the shot put.

In the weight throw, Austin Hill, Tyler Goeller, and Noah Clark (JR/Prairie City, Iowa) all finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place respectively.

Team Standings…

  1. Grand View   187pts
  2. Wartburg       157pts
  3. Hawkeye CC  66pts
  4. Upper Iowa   38pts

What’s Next?

Grand View will once again compete on January 24th in Cedar Falls, Iowa when they attend the UNI-Jack Jennett Open.  The meet is scheduled to begin at 11:00 AM.

Kelsey Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Jim Kirby 2018

Kelsey Schweizer 2nd Place Debut For Mizzou

Kelsey Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou with fellow Drake Relay Champions,, Janey Meilander, Kate Timboe, Sydney Miller ©Jim Kirby 2018

Kelsey Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou with fellow Drake Relay Champions,, Janey Meilander, Kate Timboe, Sydney Miller
©Jim Kirby 2018

Mizzou Track & Field totaled 12 first-place finishes at the Missouri Intercollegiate at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse on Friday afternoon. The Tigers resumed to action after winter break and dominated a second-straight home meet. The black and gold continue to build momentum before heading to back-to-back meets on the road at Texas A&M and Arkansas.

Courtesy Mizzou Athletics, click here!  Feature photo: Kelsey Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou ©Jim Kirby 2018

 

 

QUOTABLES

Mizzou Head Coach Brett Halter“I thought we did great. Half of the program is in their second week back and the other half just arrived this week so both had equal challenges. We probably had a little bit of heavy legs and a lot of training heading into today’s contest. There were plenty of terrific efforts and marks. We set ourselves up well to get on to our first road trip of the season down to Texas A&M.”

On getting back into the groove of things after winter break…  “Our task is getting back into a training rhythm as school starts and it’ll take us a little while to get that established. We’re not looking to get out and set the world on fire, we’re looking to go down to College Station and execute the things we can control. We want to get things done as we move forward so we can set up nicely for mid-February for our championships and I think we’re in a good spot to do that.”

On the expectations for both squads… “Our men and women both know what they want to do. They have their own internal expectations and goals. We have things that we want to accomplish as a program and we’re going to try to control those.”

UP NEXT

Mizzou Track & Field travels to College Station, Texas, for the Texas A&M Invitational which will take place on Friday, January 24 and Saturday, January 25. The Tigers hit the road for the first time during the indoor season after a pair of home meets.

For all the latest on Mizzou Track & Field, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram(MizzouTFXC).

RESULTS – TRACK EVENTS

60m Dash, Men – 1. Nylo Clarke, 6.80  // 4. Nyles Thomas, 6.99 // 7. Caulin Graves, 7:01

60m Dash, Women – 4. Jazmyn Shumaker, 7.88 // 5. Lana Dorsey, 7:96 // 18. Maya Puller, 8.56

200m Dash, Men – 1. Jayson Ashford, 21.49 // 2. Nyles Thomas, 22.57 // 6. David Buckner, 22.98 (PR) // 8. Zachary Charles, 23.16

200m Dash, Women – 2 Morgan O’Neal, 26.04 // 3. Jazmyn Shumaker, 26.29 // 7. Arianna Butler, 27.24 // 11. Lana Dorsey, 27.75

400m Run, Men – 5. Blake Hays, 50.96 // 7. Jacob Brunsman, 51.39 // 16. Cason Suggs, 53.77

600m Run, Men – 1. Robert Kuhlmann, 1:22.69

600m Run, Women – 1. Michaela Hackbarth, 1:39.07 // 2. Kelsey Schweizer, 1:39.28 // 3. Faramola Shonekan, 1:39.99 // 5. Kelley Hackbarth, 1:59.06

800m Run, Women – 2. Shannon Browning, 2:19.55 // 4. Kayla Funkenbusch, 2:30.86

Mile Run, Men – 1. Marquette Whilite, 4:23.42

Mile Run, Women – 2. Isabelle Christiansen 5:07.91 // 3. Emma Roth, 5:23.48 // 7. Abby Hake, 5:38.95 // 8. Lilly Hamilton, 5:39.53

60m Hurdles, Men – 4. Chris McKinzy Jr. 8.50 // 7. Zachary Charles, 8.84

60m Hurdles, Women – 3. Morgan O’Neal 9.25 // 5. Arianna Butler 9.49

3000m, Women – 4. Lexi Maddox, 10:30.93 // 5. Samantha Farmer, 10:39.38 // 6. Jenna Lutzow, 10:46.99

4x400m Relay, Men – 1. Jayson Ashford, Nylo Clarke, Caulin Graves, Robert Kuhlmann, 3:22.17 // 3. Blake Hays, Cason Suggs, Jacob Brunsman, Zachary Charles, 3:25.13

4x400m Relay, Women – 2. Jazmyn Shumaker, Morgan O’Neal, Arianna Butler, Faramola Shonekan, 4:06.18 // 3. Missouri C, 4:15.78 // 4. Missouri D, 4:16.31

 

Coach Bob Schultz-Loras
©Jim Kirby 2017

Duhawks Ranked Nationally

Joey Schultz-Dubuque-Loras ©Duhawks Athletics 2019

Joey Schultz-Dubuque-Loras
©Duhawks Athletics 2019

As the lone representative from the American Rivers Conference (A-R-C), the Loras College men’s track and field team checked in to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Preseason Index as the No. 4 team in Division III, marking the highest rank in program history. The USTFCCCA released the first round of rankings on Wednesday.

Courtesy Duhawks Athletics Emily Adlfinger, click here! Feature photo:© Coach Bob Schultz-Loras©Jim Kirby 2017

The Duhawks scored top-ten finishes at the 2018 and 2019 indoor national championships, highlighted by back-to-back national titles by Patrick Mikel in the 400-meter dash and six All-American performances. Mikel currently ranks fifth in Division III in the 400m after running a 48.59 at the season-opener on Dec. 7.

Ryan Rogers is also a returning All-American in the heptathlon, earning honors in both 2018 and 2019. The junior ranks third in Division III this season after setting a new school record 5,058 points in the event. He also recorded lifetime bests in the 60-meter dash (7.19 seconds), shot put (36 feet, 5.50 inches) and the pole vault (14’10.75″) and set an indoor best 6’4.25″ in the high jump.

Loras also returns Mike Jasa, Tyson Morrison and Josh Smith from the 4-by-400-meter relay team at the 2019 championship that placed third to earn All-America honors.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse owns the top spot in the preseason rankings while the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is second and Mount Union University is third. Behind the Duhawks in fifth is the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Loras returns to the track for the first time this decade on Saturday, Jan. 18 for the Sol Butler Classic, hosted by the University of Dubuque. Events begin at 10:30 A.M.

Taylor Miller-Madrid-Grandview
©Doug Wells 2019

Vikings Kick-Off Indoor Season

Jerry Monner-Grand View ©Doug Wells 2019

Jerry Monner-Grand View
©Doug Wells 2019

The men’s indoor track and field team was dominant in the St. Ambrose Invitational this weekend.  The Vikings were crowned champions on Saturday.

Courtesy Vikings Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Taylor Miller-Madrid-Grandview©Doug Wells 2019

Viking Champions…

In the 800-meter finals it was Isaiah Wittrock (SO/Richland, Iowa) who won the event, posting a time of 1:59.74.

Ben Huftalin (JR/Osage, Iowa) took care of the 1,000-meter finals, winning the event with a time of 2:33.63.

In the mile run it was Anthony Rodriguez who ran a sub 5-minute mile, posting a time of 4:31.47 and won the event.

In the 4X400 meter relay, it was the Vikings team of Tyler Miller (SO/Madrid, Iowa), Daniel Headley (SR/Melbourne, Florida), Alonzo Rodriguez Spencer, and Grayson Thacker (JR/Clinton, Iowa) who won the event.  They posted a time of 3:27.83.

Grand View also won the Distance Medley with the team of Trent Sivola (FR/Vinton, Iowa), Brandon Albaugh (SR/Polk City, Iowa), Jaxson Eden (SO/Atlantic, Iowa), and Chris Hatch (SO/Placerville, California) who won the event.  They posted a time of 11:50.05.

Trent Beck won the Long Jump Finals with a jump of 7.01 meters.

In the Weight Throw it was Clay Siefken (SR/Burlington, Iowa) with a throw of 18.26 meters.  Siefken won the event.

 

Other Notable Finishes…

Austin Kalar (FR/Bettendorf, Iowa) finished in 5th place overall in the 60-meter dash.  Kalar posted a time of 7.22 seconds.  Another Viking finished inside the top 10 in the 60-meter dash.  It was Leo Desequeira (FR/Davenport, Iowa), with a time of 7.26 seconds.

Trey Albert (FR/Eldon, Iowa) finished in 8th place overall in the 200-meter finals.  Albert posted a time of 24.04 seconds.

Two Vikings finished inside the top 5 in the 400-meter finals.  Grayson Thacker finished in 3rd place with a time of 52.10 seconds.  Jake Clouse finished right behind Thacker with a time of 52.50 seconds and a 4th place finish overall.

In the 800-meter finals, Grand View also took home 2nd place with Carter Huyser (FR/Oskaloosa, Iowa) posting a time of 1:59.95.  Alonzo Rodriguez-Spencer (JR/Buffalo, New York) also took home 4th place with a time of 2:03.99.  Jaxson Eden (7thplace overall), Brandon Albaugh (9th place overall), and Gonzalo Gaytan (SO/Carrollton, Texas) (10th place overall) rounded out the Vikings efforts in the 200-meter finals.

In the 1,000-meter finals Grand View not only took home 1st place, but they also recorded five other top 10 finishers.  Anthony Rodriguez (4th place), Talon Munger (SO/Oskaloosa, Iowa) (5th place), Trevor Albert (JR/Eldon, Iowa) (6th place), and Nick Wakefield (FR/Roland, Iowa) (8th place).

Grand View remained dominate in the Mile run as well.  Taking home 1st place, as well as Ahren Davis (SO/Ankeny, Iowa) (2ndplace), Trevor Albert (3rd place), Talon Munger (4th place), and Nick Wakefield (6th place).

In the 3,000-meter race/walk two Vikings finished in 2nd and 3rd place.  Caleb Chmelka (SO/Council Bluffs, Iowa) and Seth Diser (FR/Marshalltown, Iowa) were Grand View’s top finishers.

When the 60-meter hurdles were completed, the Vikings ended up having three top-ten finishers.  Tyler Miller finished in 3rdplace overall, Malachi Thongvanh (SO/Adel, Iowa) finished in 6th place overall, and Jacob Large (SO/Olathe, Kansas) who finished in 9th place overall.

Bubba Rutledge (SR/Tama, Iowa) finished in 2nd place in the High Jump finals.  Trent Beck also finished in 4th place overall in the high jump.

In the Pole Vault finals, it was AJ Babino (FR/Spring, Texas) who finished in 4th place with a vault of 10’6″.  Jacob Large also finished in 6th place overall in the pole vault.

Grand View had three other top 10 finishers in the long jump finals.  Trey Albert finished in 3rd place, Linc Thomas finished in 5thplace overall, and Seth Pippett (FR/Ankeny, Iowa) finished in 8th place.

The shot-put finals featured six Vikings inside the top 10 overall.  Austin Hill (SR/Pella, Iowa) led the way, finishing in 3rd place.  Zach Stacy (SO/West Des Moines, Iowa) finished in 4th place, Tyler Goeller (SR/Fairbank, Iowa) finished in 6th place, Clay Siefken finished in 7th place, Noah Clark (JR/Prairie City, Iowa) in 8th place, and Niles Siefken (SO/Burlington, Iowa) rounded out the Vikings in 10th place.

The throwers continued their dominance in the weight throw.  Austin Hill (2nd place), Tyler Goeller (3rd place), Noah Clark (4thplace), Niles Siefken (7th place), and Zach Stacy (10th place) all finished inside the top 10.

 

The Standings…

The Vikings finished in 1st place overall.  The full team standings are below.

Grand View  236

Augustana    149

St. Ambrose 109

Judson            31

 

What’s Next?

The Vikings will be back at the oval next weekend.  They will compete in the Wartburg-Henkenius Open.  The meet will begin on Saturday, January 18th at 10:00 AM.

Edwin Kurgat-ISU
©Luke Lu cyclones.com 2019

Cyclones Ranked High For 2020

Festus Lagat-ISU ©Luke Lu Cyclones.com 2019

Festus Lagat-ISU
©Luke Lu Cyclones.com 2019

The Iowa State indoor track and field season resumes next weekend in Iowa City, and the Cyclone men will be among the teams to watch across the country this winter. On Monday, FloTrack released its first prediction for the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships, and has the Cyclones tied for fourth with 32 points.

Courtesy Cyclone Athletics, click here! Feature photo:  Edwin Kurgat-ISU©Luke Lu cyclones.com 2019

The ISU men’s squad’s prowess has already been demonstrated in a pair of December meets. On Dec. 7 in Boston at the BU Season Opener, NCAA Cross Country champion Edwin Kurgat ran an outstanding 13:24.04 in the men’s 5,000-meters, a mark that set all kinds of records. Kurgat re-set his own school record of 13:34.54 from last season’s Iowa State Classic, took down Kennedy Kithuka’s Big 12 record of 13:25.38 and moved up to No. 10 in NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field history, running the first sub-13:25 at 5K since 2012.

FloTrack projects Kurgat to win the 5,000m and finish second at 3,000 meters. Kurgat will get his first crack at the 3,000-meter run on Feb. 8 at the Millrose Games in New York City.

Festus Lagat has also been a standout performer in December, and is a key to the Cyclones’ preseason hype. At the BU Season Opener, Lagat claimed wins in the mile and the 1,000-meter run, with the latter seeing him clock a then-personal best 2:23.81. That lasted all of one week, as Lagat sped his way to a 2:20.88 at the Jimmy Grant Invitational in Iowa City, shattering Edward Kemboi’s previous school record and running the fastest 1K in NCAA Division I in over two years.

Not to be out-done, Lagat saw teammates Roshon Roomes and Daniel Nixon also go under the previous school record time, with Roomes clocking in at 2:21.29 and Nixon in 2:21.56. While the 1,000 is not an NCAA Championships event, their efforts are reflected in FloTrack’s 800-meter run projections, which puts Lagat second and Roomes seventh. Lagat took third place in the 800 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last June.

The trio will be crucial to the Cyclones putting up points in the distance medley relay again, which ISU took fifth place in last year at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Lagat and Roomes ran as part of that quartet last season and Nixon will almost certainly play a part this upcoming year.

Iowa State resumes the indoor track and field season next weekend at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational in Iowa City.

Keegan TritleK-Lisbon-UNI
©Panthers Athletics 2019

Panthers Off and Running in 2020

Erin Kerkhoff-Solon-UNI  @Panthers Athletics 2020

Erin Kerkhoff-Solon-UNI
@Panthers Athletics 2020

The UNI Panther track and field team earned six first-place finishes along with 13 top-three finishes at the Hawkeye Invite Saturday in Iowa City.

Courtesy Panthers Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Keegan TritleK-Lisbon-UNI©Panthers Athletics 2019

 

Patrice Watson led the Panther women with a first-place finish in 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.72. Sixteen total women placed picked up top-five finishes. Erin Kerkhoff earned a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:00.24. Mckayla Cole had strong performances in the mile and 3,000-meter run, finishing in second and third respectively with times of 5:05.93 and 10:12.25.
Courtesy of Panthers Athletics, click here! Feature photo: ©
In the field events, Katie Fare and Anna Hoyman placed second and third in Shot Put with distances of 13.50m and 13.21m. Alanna Nietert and Allison Griffin placed second and third in Weight Throw with distances of 18.82m and 18.70m.

Men’s track dominated in the field events, taking the top spots in jump events, Shot Put, and Weight Throw. Cameron Bauer earned two first place finishes in Pole Vault (4.85m) and Triple Jump (14.02m). Darius King finished first in Shot Put with a throw of 17.85m. Teamates Kyler Yodts (second), Keegan Tritle (third) and William Blaser (fifth) following closely behind taking four of the top five spots.

Chase Van Sant earned a first-place finish in the Long Jump with a distance of 7.13m. CJ May won the 1000-meter run with a time of 2:26.15. Overall, 18 athletes finished top five in their events.

The Panthers will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 18 at the Bison Team Cup hosted by North Dakota State in Fargo, North Dakota.

Tia Saunders-I.C.West-Iowa, Aly Weum-Iowa, Mallory King-Assumption-Iowa, Payton Wensel-Lin Mar-Iowa 
©HawkeyeSports.com 2019

Hawkeyes Host the Hawkeye Invitational

Coach Joey Woody-Iowa ©Stephen Mally/Hawkeyesports.com 2019

Coach Joey Woody-Iowa
©Stephen Mally/Hawkeyesports.com 2019

THIS WEEK 
The University of Iowa track and field team hosts the Hawkeye Invitational on Friday and Saturday to kick off the 2020 season. The teams competing include Hawkeye CC, Indian Hills CC, Iowa Central, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois Edwardsville, and Western Illinois. The meet begins Friday at 2 p.m.(CT) with the weight throw at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. On Saturday morning, jumps begin at 10 a.m. at the UI Rec Building and the running events start at 12:15 p.m. with the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries. Admission is free.

Courtesy Hawkeyes Athletics, click here! Feature photo:

 

FOLLOW ALONG
Fans can follow the meet on the live results page at hawkeyesports.com/tracklive. Results will also be posted on the team’s official twitter account @iowaxc_tf. A live video feed is available at hawkeyesports.com.

MEET THE RECORD HOLDERS
Four Hawkeyes on the roster account for four indoor school records. They include:
Nathan Mylenek, Collin Hofacker: distance medley relay (9:33.90)
Laulauga Tausaga: shot put (17.79m) and weight throw (23.26m)
Antonio Woodard, Wayne Larence Jr.: 1,600-meter relay (3:04.94).

TAUSAGA MAKES PRESEASON HISTORY
On Jan 6., Laulauga Tausaga became the first ever Hawkeye to be named to the 2020 Bowerman preseason watch list. The Bowerman is an annual track and field award and is the highest accolade given to the year’s best student-athlete in collegiate track and field. It is the equivalent of college football’s Heisman Trophy. The award is named after Oregon track and field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman and is administered by the USTFCCCA. The winner is announced December 2020. Tausaga had a record breaking 2019 season that ended with an NCAA discus title and a berth to the 2019 World Championship in Doha, Qatar, where she finished in the top five with a personal best and discus school record (63.94m).

MCCONICO EARNS FIRST B1G TRACK ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
On Dec. 18, Senior Jaylan McConico earned his first Big Ten Athlete of the Week honor. McConico came off the Jimmy Grant Invitational with a new personal best (7.66), No. 2 all-time at Iowa, and a first place finish. He ranks No. 1 in the country for the 60-meter hurdles.

STARTING OUT THE 2020 SEASON ON TOP
At the Jimmy Grant Invitational on Dec. 14, Iowa won eight individual and one relay title in the season opener. Twenty-two additional Hawkeyes earned 25 personal best marks in their respective events. There were four individuals who joined and climbed up the all-time top 10 list; Jaylan McConico (60-meter hurdles, 2nd), Antonise Christian (60-meter dash, 6th), Amanda Howe (weight throw, 6th), and Tyler Lienau (weight throw, 6th).

KIMBRO RANKS NO.1
At the Jimmy Grant Invitational on Dec. 14, Kimbro took first in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.25. She ranks No.1 in the country for women. She also helped Iowa’s 1,600-meter relay team earn first at the invite.

NEXT ON THE BLOCK
The Hawkeyes host the Larry Wieczorek Invitational on Jan. 17-18. The teams competing include Arizona, Baylor, Illinois, Iowa State, Kentucky, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin.

Ryan Schweizer-Dowling-Notre Dame
©Jim Kirby

Ryan Schweizer Wins Mile at Blue & Gold Invite: First Race in Two Years

Ryan Schweizer-Dowling-Notre Dame ©Fighting Irish Athletics 2019

Ryan Schweizer-Dowling-Notre Dame
©Fighting Irish Athletics 2019

The University of Notre Dame track & field program returned to the oval for the first time since the 2019 ACC Indoor Championships on Friday, with several Irish student-athletes recording notable season-opening performances at the Blue & Gold Invitational at the Loftus Sports Center

Courtesy Fighting Irish Athletics, click here!  Feature photo:Ryan Schweizer-Dowling-Notre Dame©Jim Kirby

Hosting Bethel, Butler, DePaul, Detroit Mercy, Marquette and Valparaiso, the Irish claimed victories in 12 events, including a school record-breaking performance in the women’s weight throw.

Junior Rachel Tanczos shattered her own Irish mark in the second round of the weight throw, tossing a 22.10m and besting her previous personal best of 21.08 set while winning last season’s ACC Championship. In the men’s weight throw, senior Logan Kusky came up just 0.01m off his PR and the Irish record with a throw of 21.36m.

Also notable was senior Ryan Schweizer’s win in the men’s mile, running 4:15.44 in his first race in two years after missing each of the last two indoor and outdoor track seasons due to injury. In the women’s mile, senior Mikayla Schneider won for the second straight year at the Blue and Gold Invitational, racing to a 4:56.02 finish, six seconds ahead of teammate Anna Fischer in second place.

In the women’s 800, freshman Catherine Coffey (2:13.87) won her first collegiate race, using a late surge to overcome graduate student Rachel DaDamio (2:14.79), running her first career 800 distance. Coming in third was junior Laura DeVito, who shaved two seconds off her PR with a 2:15.07.

The Irish swept the top four spots in the men’s 800 with freshman Connor Shields (1:55.13), junior Matt Fraizer (1:55.34) and sophomore Luke Phillips (1:55.47, PR) finishing within the same 0.34-second period.

Also winning events for the Irish were Parker Jones (men’s 1,000m, 2:26.93), Colton Crum (men’s pole vault, 4.95m), Summer Thorpe (60m hurdles, 8.44), Abbey Kapitan (women’s shot put, 15.54m), Naya Sharp (women’s long jump, 5.62m)

RESULTS

Blue & Gold Invitational
Loftus Sports Center
Notre Dame, Ind.
Dec. 6, 2019

MEN

60m (Prelims)
T10. Antonio Villegas, 7.31
13. Osy Ekwueme, 7.45

400m
3. Edward Cheatham, 48.86

800m
1. Connor Shields, 1:55.13
2. Matt Frazier, 1:55.34
3. Luke Phillips, 1:55.47
4. Peter Werling, 1:56.76

1,000m
1. Parker Jones, 2:26.93
2. Andrew Delvecchio, 2:27.46
3. Sam Voelz, 2:28.62

Mile
1. Ryan Schweizer, 4:15.44
2. Peter Monahan, 4:16.87
3. Clayton Goldman, 4:24.68

3,000m
3. Jake Renfree, 8:13.88
4. Zach Kreft, 8:16.22
5. Tyler Keslin, 8:28.18
6. Skip Morrell, 8:28.77
7. Quinn Gallagher, 8:29.28
8. Dustin Macuiba, 8:33.97
9. Alex Luz, 8:34.70
11. Tom Seitzer, 8:42.29

4x400m Relay
5. Luke Phillips, Clayton Goldman, Connor Shields, Andrew Delvecchio, 3:28.20

Pole Vault
1. Colton Crum, 4.95m
6. Matthew Quintal, 4.20m

Long Jump
2. Antonio Villegas, 6.80m

Triple Jump
2. Osy Ekwueme, 13.14m

Weight Throw
1. Logan Kusky, 21.36m
2. John Stefan, 18.00m
3. Shae Watkins, 17.53m
6. Michael Shoaf, 16.16m
8. Matthew Eichten, 15.04m
9. Blake Kusky, 13.80m

Shot Put
2. Shae Watkins, 16.11m
3. John Stefan, 16.03m
4. Michael Shoaf, 15.64m
6. Grayson Zinn, 13.49m

WOMEN

60m (Prelims)
1. Michaela Butler, 7.86q
11. Isabelle Grassel, 8.25

60m (Finals)
3. Michaela Butler, 7.85

60m Hurdles (Prelims)
1. Naya Sharp, 8.52q
2. Summer Thorpe, 8.54q
4. Grace Cronin, 8.74q
6. Madysen Hunter, 8.90q
13. Avian Rossum, 9.36

60m Hurdles (Finals)
1. Summer Thorpe, 8.44
2. Naya Sharp, 8.51
4. Grace Cronin, 8.77
6. Madysen Hunter, 884

200
6. Grace Cronin, 25.09

800
1. Catherine Coffey, 2:13.87
2. Rachel DaDamio, 2:14.79
3. Laura DeVito, 2:15.07

Mile
1. Mikayla Schneider, 4:56.82
2. Anna Fischer, 5:02.04
3. Jessica Schneider 5:05.99
4. Olivia Niziolek, 5:08.37
5. Elizabeth Hannon, 5:09.11
6. Cassie Keyes, 5:13.04

3,000m
2. Elena Denner, 10:01.53
3. Maddy VanBlunk, 10:14.85
5. MaryClare Leonard, 10:22.54

4x400m Relay
3. Laura DeVito, Mikayla Schneider, Catherine Coffey, Jessica Schneider, 4:01.69

Pole Vault
2. McKenna Caskey, 3.75m
4. Olivia Fabry, 3.45m
9. Alexandra Chlumsky, 3.15m

High Jump
2. Sarah Flight, 1.60m

Long Jump
1. Naya Sharp, 5.62m
15. Isabelle Grassel, 4.64m

Weight Throw
1. Rachel Tanczos, 22.10m
2. Abbey Kapitan, 20.45m
10. Ava Butterbaugh, 13.74m

Shot Put
1. Abbey Kapitan, 15.54m
2. Rachel Tanczos, 15.31m
6. Alesis Juntunen, 12.47m
7. Ava Butterbaugh, 12.28m

Thomas Pollard-Gilbert-ISU and his parents.
©Jamie Pollard 2019

Logue and Pollard are Big 12 Scholar-Athletes of the Fall Sports Season

Call Logue-ISU ©Michael Scott 2017 http://miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

Call Logue-ISU
©Michael Scott 2017 http://miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

Today the Big 12 Conference announced its Fall Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Junior Cailie Logue was named 2019 Big 12 Women’s Cross Country Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while Junior Thomas Pollard was named the 2019 Big 12 Men’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Courtesy Cyclones Athletic Department, click here! Feature photo:Thomas Pollard-Gilbert-ISU and his parents.
©Jamie Pollard 2019

 

Logue is Iowa State’s third Women’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year in school history, Pollard is the first Men’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipient.

Oklahoma State All-American, Taylor Somers, was named Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year with Logue.

Cailie Logue
Logue’s 2019 cross country trophy case continues to accumulate hardware. The Erie, Kan., native finished 15th at the NCAA Cross Country Championship to earn All-America honors. Logue claimed her second-straight NCAA Regional and Big 12 individual crowns at the Regional and Conference Championships. She is just the third runner in Big 12 history to repeat as champion.

Following the season, Logue was name the 2019 Big 12 Cross Country Women’s Runner of the Year, as well as the 2019 Midwest Regional Female Athlete of the Year for the second-straight season. She became just the second female to be named Midwest Regional Athlete of the Year in multiple seasons.

During the regular season, Logue was once again the anchor for Amy Rudolph‘s young lineup. She finished eighth individually at the Joe Piane Invitational and was awarded Big 12 Runner of the Week honors for her performance. She also posted a 25th-place finish in a loaded field at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.

Logue, who is a 3.98 student in Kinesiology, earned Cross Country First Team Academic All-Big 12 honors for the second-straight season.

Thomas Pollard
Pollard was an integral piece to Iowa State’s 2019 cross country season, which was the best that the program had seen in the last 25 years. The Gilbert, Iowa, native ran in every race for the Cyclones in 2019.

Pollard and the Cyclones made their fourth-straight trip to the NCAA Cross Country Championship, which is the second-longest streak in school history. There, the Cyclones finished fourth in the team race, earning a trophy-finish for the first time since ISU won the national title in 1990. Pollard posted a top-100 finish individually, placing 95th.

For the third time of his career, Pollard earned All-Big 12 recognition. He raced to a 15th-place finish at the Big 12 Championship. He was one of seven Cardinal and Gold runners to earn All-Big 12 recognition, aiding Iowa State to its third-straight Big 12 team title. Pollard followed that up with an All-Region performance at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship, taking 18th individually.

Pollard is a three-time Cross Country First Team Academic All-Big 12 honoree, studying Supply Chain Management and Statistics with a 3.97 GPA.

Big 12 Scholar Athlete of the Year
The Big 12 Conference established its Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 2012-13. A recipient is named in each conference-sponsored sport. Every Big 12 institution nominates one individual per sport with the winners selected by a vote of the league head coaches for that sport, who are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes. Scholar-Athlete of the Year nominees must be a junior or senior (athletic and academic standing), have a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher, participate in at least 20 percent of the team’s scheduled contests and have a minimum of one year in residence at the institution.

1985 ISU Women's Cross Country Team
©Cyclones Athletics

Archive Podcast: The Memory of the 1985 ISU XC Team: Tami Prescott

Tami Prescott-ISU along with Jim Kirby

Tami Prescott-ISU along with Jim Kirby

Every year around this time, members of the ISU family pause to remember the events surrounding the 1985 NCAA National Cross Country Championships.  What should have been a time of joy, success and love, turned into a tragic day that shocked anyone connected with collegiate cross country and the Cyclone Community. It was a day when we lost so much.

Feature photo:1985 ISU Women’s Cross Country Team©Cyclones Athletics
Link to Cyclone Athletic Department’s Documentary: “Forever True: The Story of the 1985 Cross Country Team” click here!

 

A small tribute marks the site of the plane crash of one of the planes carrying some of the 1985 ISU Cross Country Team ©Jim Kirby 2017

A small tribute marks the site of the plane crash of one of the planes carrying some of the 1985 ISU Cross Country Team
©Jim Kirby 2017

In 2016, Next Level Iowa sat down with Tami Prescott, a member of that 1985 team, and we talked about the people and the events of that tragic day. Here is that interview with Tami Prescott recorded November 20, 2015

(interview begins at 1:00 in)

 

Abby Kohut-Jackson-Ballard-Minnesota 
©Craig Lassig

Kohut-JacksonLead Gophers at Nationals

 

 Abby Kohut-Jackson-Ballard-Minnesota ©Golden Gophers Athletics 2018

Abby Kohut-Jackson-Ballard-Minnesota
©Golden Gophers Athletics 2018

Abby Kohut-Jackson finished 110th to lead the Golden Gopher women to a 28th-place team finish while Alec Basten represented the Minnesota men with a 166th-place showing as the University of Minnesota cross country team raced at the NCAA Championships at LaVern Gibson Course in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday morning.

Courtesy Golden Gophers Athletics, click here! Feature photo: ©Abby Kohut-Jackson-Ballard-Minnesota ©Craig Lassig

Gopher Women at the NCAA Championships
In her third NCAA Cross Country Championships appearance, Kohut-Jackson paced the Gopher women for the second time this season and clocked a time of 21:18.7 for the six-kilometer course. She improved on her previous NCAA results by over 100 places with a 110th-place finish, having placed 231st in 2017 and 215th in 2018.

Anastasia Korzenowski also improved on her prior NCAA finish, going from 230th a year ago to 172nd this season. Sarah Werkingrounded out Minnesota’s top three, placing 175th in her NCAA debut. Zetta Mason (198th) and Jaycie Thomsen (214th) completed the Gophers’ scoring finishes.

Gopher Men at the NCAA Championships
Redshirt junior Alec Basten made his debut at the NCAA championships on Saturday in Terre Haute, representing the Maroon & Gold men at the national championship for the first time since 2015. Basten placed 166th as an individual competitor with a time of 32:31.6 for the 10-kilometer course.

Quotable
“It was a tough day,” women’s head coach Sarah Hopkins said. “There were a lot of things that we did well, but we had some bad luck. Anastasia went down around the 1K and got pretty trampled on, had to get up and regroup, and she battled hard from there and fought hard for the team, but obviously she wasn’t her normal self after that. Those things happen outside your control, and you have to do your best to regroup and I thought she did a great job of that. If she has a normal race, I think we’re top-25, which was the goal coming in, to be in that 20-25 range. The performance we had minus that bad luck was a top-25 type of team.”

Abby Kohut-Jackson ran a great race,” Hopkins said. “To be 110th at this race is by far the best national meet that she’s had on try number three. That’s what you need at this race. The super important part of us being here this year was to get one more of being weathered because it’s a very different meet than anything we do all year.”

“We got some experience today that’s going to help us going forward, but I think we’re all a little bit disappointed, which isn’t a bad thing,” Hopkins said. “We just have to use that in the right way and not the wrong way. We have to reset and get ready for track, keep building through track, and be ready to put Megan and Bethany back in next fall. We have to learn from this and keep growing because we definitely have a lot of really good pieces. They battled all year and did a heck of a job to get to this point. I wish we would’ve had a little bit better result today. I think they deserved a little bit more than they got today based on what they’ve done this year but that’s why you run the race.”

Women’s NCAA 6K Results
110. Abby Kohut-Jackson, 21:18.7
172. Anastasia Korzenowski, 21:47.8
175. Sarah Werking, 21:50.8
198. Zetta Mason, 22:04.5
214. Jaycie Thomsen, 22:10.9
226. Lindsey Greenlund, 22:27.5
233. Carissa Dock, 22:37.2

Men’s NCAA 10K Results
166. Alec Basten, 32:31.7

Dordt Women's Cross Country
©Defenders Athletics 2019

Iowans Help Defenders at Nationals

Jacob Vander Plaats-Sioux Center-Dordt  ©Defenders Athletics 2019

Jacob Vander Plaats-Sioux Center-Dordt
©Defenders Athletics 2019

Men

The Dordt Defender men’s cross country team finished 16th at the NAIA National Championship on Friday, November 22 in the 8,000 meter race hosted in Vancouver, Washington.

Courtesy Defenders Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Dordt Women’s Cross Country©Defenders Athletics 2019

 

The Defenders were in 18th place after 2,000 meters and moved up as a pack int 16th place at the 6,000 meter mark and held on to that spot for the finish with 435 points.

Oregon Tech finished 15th with 406 points and the Defenders were 42 points clear of Huntington in 17th place.

Oklahoma City, the number one team all season long, locked up a national championship with 110 points, beating Taylor by 61 points.

Eric Steiger finished 57th place with a time of 26:00.  The sophomore ran aggressively after running the first 2,000 meters and was in 80th at that time.

Jacob Vander Plaats was 82nd in a time of 26:16 and Davis Tebben locked up 103rd with a time of 26:25.

Joe Anderson, running in his first national championship race, made up significant ground in the final 2,000 meters, passing 35 runners to finish in 137th place in 26:47.  Nicolas Veldhorst was Dordt’s final scorer with a time of 26:45 and he also made up ground, passing 54 runners from where he stood after the first 2,000 meters to finish 146th in the 335 runner field.

Trey Engen was 167th in 26:53 and Brooks De Waard was 236th in a time of 27:10.

Dordt’s 1-5 spread was 00:45 and the 1-7 total spread was 1:10.

Oklahoma City’s Mark Shaw won the individual title in 24:39.

37 teams competed in the race.

DORDT’S FINISHERS (PLACES NOTED ARE OVERALL FINISH NOT THE POINT PLACEMENT)

Eric Steiger 57/26:00

Jacob Vander Plaats 82/26:15

Davis Tebben 103/26:25

Joe Anderson 137/26:47

Nicolas Veldhorst 146/26:45

Trey Engen 167/26:53

Brooks De Waard 236/27:10

 

Women

The Dordt women finished 23rd at the NAIA National Championship run in Vancouver, Washington on Friday, November 22.  Dordt totaled 505 points in the 36 team field that featured 341 runners.

Courtesy Defender Athletics, click here!

 

The Defenders were led by Olivia Couch with a 46th place time of 18:55.  The senior has been Dordt’s lead runner through out the season and battled in the 35-40 place range before settling for a 46th place finish.  Couch went out fast and was in 20th place after 1,000 meters before settling into 38th place at the 2,000 meter mark.

Sarah Wensink ran 78th in 19:16 and Jordan Bos was 156th in a time of 19:49. Wensink moved up gradually through out the race from 112 after 1,000 meters to 91st through 3,000 and passed six runners in the final 1,000 meters.

Jordan Bos ran third for Dordt in a time of 19:49 and finished 155th.  Bos was in 207th place through 2,000 meters before passing 52 runner over the final 3,000 meters.

Eden Winslow was Dordt’s fourth runner with a time of 20:16 and ran 223rd while Sienna De Jong was 229th with a time of 20:19 and was the final scorer for Dordt.

Dordt’s sixth and seventh runners were Mary Kate Postma was 246th and Brenna Tolkamp was 282nd in times of 20:29 and 21:00 respectively.

Dordt’s 1-5 spread was 01:24 and the 1-7 spread was 2:05.

Madonna won the team title with 111 points and College of Idaho was second with 146.

The Defenders were nine points behind Olivet Nazarene with 532 points and Mount Mercy had 519.

Hannah Stoffel from Huntington won the individual championship with a time of 17:18.

DORDT’S FINISHERS (OVERALL PLACING NOT PLACING FOR POINTS)

Oliva Couch 46/18:55

Sarah Wensink 78/19:16

Jordan Bos 155/19:49

Eden Winslow 222/20:16

Sienna De Jong 228/20:19

Mary Kate Postma 246/20:29

Brenna Tolkamp 282/21:00

Ro Paschal-Morningside
©Mustangs Athletics 2019

Mustangs End Season On a High Note

Emalee Fundermann-Anthon-Morningside ©Mustangs Athletics 2019

Emalee Fundermann-Anthon-Morningside
©Mustangs Athletics 2019

Looking to end the 2019 season on a high note, Morningside College put three runners in the top 175 of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Championships Friday, Nov. 22.

Courtesy Mustangs Athletics, click here! Feature photo:Ro Paschal-Morningside©Mustangs Athletics 2019

 

Senior Emmalee Fundermann (Anthon, Iowa) topped the women’s team efforts for head coach Dave Nash’s qualifying individuals, crossing the finish line at the Fort Vancouver Historic Site course in 19:39.1, good for her fourth straight sub-20 minute 5K race and fifth such outing of the season. Sophomore Jo McKibben (SO/Mapleton, IA) (Mapleton, Iowa) clocked a 19:56 flat, good for 171st, which was her fifth successive finish in sub 20.

On the men’s side of the ledger, after a tough start that left juniors Ro Paschal (JR/Mancos, Colo.) (Mancos, Colo.) and Connor Ritz (JR/Sioux City, IA) (Sioux City, Iowa) in the 250th place range, both Mustangs rallied back for strong standings. Paschal ran a 26:56.9 to wind up 175th, and Ritz turned in a 27:03.4 for 189th place.

“It was a great experience for the entire group,” Nash noted. “Most of them placed in the top half, and Emmalee ran, simply put a perfectly paced plan. I’m pleased with our entire day here, though, as both races were physical and challenging with loops and course terrain.”

Iowa State Men's Cross Country
©Cyclones Athletics 2019

Natty Champ Kurgat and All-American Logue Lead Cyclones!

Thomas Pollard-Gilbert-ISU and his parents. ©Jamie Pollard 2019

Thomas Pollard-Gilbert-ISU and his parents.
©Jamie Pollard 2019

Men

Iowa State’s Edwin Kurgat capped off a historic season by winning the 2019 NCAA Men’s Cross Country individual national title. The 2018-19 Gary Thompson Iowa State Male Athlete of the Year ran a 10k time of 30:32.7 to finish over four seconds clear of the field.

Courtesy cyclone Athletics, click here!  Feature photo: Iowa State Men’s Cross Country ©Cyclones Athletics 2019
Edwin Kurgat-ISU ©Luke Lu cyclones.com 2019

Edwin Kurgat-ISU
©Luke Lu cyclones.com 2019

Kurgat was joined by all of his teammates on the podium at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course as the Cyclones earned a fourth-place finish. It is Iowa State’s first trophy finish at the NCAA Championships since ISU won the national title in 1994.

Just like head coach Martin Smith preaches to his team, Iowa State stayed patient throughout the race. At the 3k mark, ISU stat just outside the top-10 in 11th. At the 5k mark, they moved up to 7th, and then eventually moved up to fourth at the 8k mark and held that position for the remaining of the race.

Individually, the Cyclones saw six out of their seven runners finish in the top-100. Chad Johnson finished just outside of All-America contention in 43rd with a time of 31:21.6. Mitchell Day was right behind him in 51st with a time of 31:31.2.

Milo Greder, Addison Dehaven and Thomas Pollard rounded out the ISU runners in the top-100. Greder posted a 72nd-place finish in 31:41.4. Dehaven followed him closely to earn a 76th-place finish in 31:45.4. Pollard ran a 10k time of 31:56.5, good for 95th individually. David Too was the seventh finisher in the ISU lineup at the NCAA Championships with a 174th-place finish in 32:39.4.

Edwin Kurgat 2019 Capsule
What Edwin Kurgat accomplished in 2019 will not soon be forgotten. He becomes Iowa States third-ever national champion and the first to do so since 1990. Kurgat is also the fourth Big 12 runner to win the national title and the first since 2012.

Kurgat kicked off the postseason by defending his individual Big 12 title as Iowa State cruised to its third-straight team championship. He parlayed that into his second-straight NCAA Midwest Regional title. Kurgat was once again named the Bill Bergan Award winner, given annually to the top male performer in the Midwest Region. He is the fifth male athlete to repeat as the Bill Bergan Award winner.

During the regular season, Kurgat won both the John McNichols Invitational and the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational. On both occasions he was named the USTFCCCA National Male Athlete of the Week and the Big 12 Men’s Runner of the Week. He is the first men’s cross country runner to win two National Male Athlete of the Week honors in the same season since 2016.

Individual Results
1. Edwin Kurgat, 30:32.7
43. Chad Johnson, 31:21.6
51. Mitchell Day, 31:31.2
72. Milo Greder, 31:41.3
76. Addison Dehaven, 31:45.4
95. Thomas Pollard, 31:56.5
174. David Too, 32:39.4

Team Results (Top-5 out of 31 Teams)
1. BYU, 109
2. Northern Arizona, 163
3. Colorado, 164
4. Iowa State, 211
5. Tulsa, 243

Call Logue-ISU ©Michael Scott 2017 http://miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

Call Logue-ISU
©Michael Scott 2017 http://miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

Women

Iowa State’s Cailie Logue earned NCAA Cross Country All-America honors for the first time of her career with a 15th-place finish at the NCAA Championships on Saturday morning. Logue is the 35th cross country All-American in program history.

Courtesy Cyclones Athletics, click here!

 

Logue ran the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course with a 6k time of 20:26.8 to earn a spot on the medal stand.  New Mexico’s Weini Kelati claimed the women’s individual title with a time of 19:47.5.

Logue was in the lead chase pack for most of the race. She clipped the 2k mark in 17th, but fell back to 23rd at the 4k mark. A great kick down the stretch for the Erie, Kan., native catapulted her up eight spots to finish in the top-15.

Cailie Logue 2019 Capsule
Logue’s 2019 season was one for the record books. She became just the second female to be named Midwest Regional Athlete of the Year in multiple seasons. She claimed her second-straight NCAA Regional and Big 12 individual crowns to earn those honors. She is just the third runner in Big 12 history to repeat as champion.

During the regular season, Logue was once again the anchor for Amy Rudolph‘s young lineup. She finished eighth individually at the Joe Piane Invitational and was awarded Big 12 Runner of the Week honors for her performance. She also posted a 25th-place finish in a loaded field at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.

Ro Paschal,  Connor Ritz-Sioux City, Emmalee Fundermann-Anthon,  Jo McKibben-Mapleton
©Maverick Athletics 2019

Maverick Leaders Have Big Goals

Connor Ritz-Sioux City-Morningside  ©Mustangs Athletics 2019

Connor Ritz-Sioux City-Morningside
©Mustangs Athletics 2019

Four personalities … differing as many do on any college campus.

Four personalities are seeking a strong finish to the 2019 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ cross-country season. Making their differences focus on goals set by Morningside College head coach Dave Nash when they compete at the Fort Vancouver Historic Site Friday, Nov. 22.

Courtesy Mavericks Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Ro Paschal, Connor Ritz-Sioux City, Emmalee Fundermann-Anthon, Jo McKibben-Mapleton©Maverick Athletics 2019

 

Finish in the top half and potentially the first 100 was among the messages set in front of them by their head coach. Junior men’s competitors Ro Paschal (JR/Mancos, Colo.) (Mancos, Colo.) and Connor Ritz (JR/Sioux City, IA) (Sioux City, Iowa) and the women’s duo of senior Emmalee Fundermann (Anthon, Iowa) and sophomore Jo McKibben (SO/Mapleton, IA) (Mapleton, Iowa) all aim for that season’s ending but have taken different paths with intriguing stories to reach the association’s championship … continuing 14 straight years in which the Maroon has had at least one individual men’s and/or women’s qualifier.

Fundermann and McKibben have continued a friendship that began in the communities of Mapleton and Anthon that share Maple Valley Community School District. According to Jo, they’ve been good friends since elementary school, and they are roommates on Morningside’s campus.

“I’m so lucky to have Em here to pull me through,” McKibben noted. “I’m a big overthinker in certain situations, including races. My mind has been my worst enemy when I’m running, but this year, I’ve learned to shut it off somewhat (during those times). Like Emmalee tells me, ‘Just go out and run.'”

Fundermann is glad to have the camaraderie of her friend and teammate, too. “We all have people to push us (on the women’s team), and Jo is one of those for me,” she said. “I love running with her. It’s awesome having a good friend like that on the team and understanding what kind of things you want to accomplish.”

The pair also share the fact that neither of them figured a collegiate cross-country career was ahead of them. Fundermann admits, with a smile, that running three miles “wasn’t her thing” and didn’t even run cross country in high school. McKibben did compete for the Ramblers and was part of a state meet squad as a junior, but her focus has been on 60 meters and long jumping.

However, this odd long-distance couple has turned heads all season, both going sub-20s on 5K courses. They each placed in the top 10 of the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championships and are hoping for more success this weekend.

“While I might not favor cross country, when I’m competing, I’m giving it everything I’ve got,” Fundermann said. “I can’t go out just to run. I’m very competitive and want to do well … no matter what the situation.”

“To see where I’m at now, it does make me smile,” McKibben said. “It all comes down to me wanting to show that I could compete (in cross country) and make that big jump from what I do in track and field. It’s been a fun and interesting journey.”

For the men, Ritz has the advantage of being in a national meet setting, as he competed a year ago in Cedar Rapids. Paschal has also been through the big race feel having fought for one of National Collegiate Athletic Association’s premiere programs in any division when he ran two seasons for Division II perennial powerhouse Adams State University.

“I’m going in with a different mindset (this year),” Ritz said of his second nationals’ attempt. “Last year, it was all about understanding what it was all about. This year, though, I’m aiming for the top 100 and maybe to get a personal record, too.

I feel like one of the reasons for my success this year is due to the leadership role that Ro and I have (on the men’s team),” he added. “It’s a different feeling and focuses when you have other people leaning on you. We have to go out and show our best, so the younger guys understand what the program is trying to accomplish.”

Paschal admittedly leads by example as a new team member, but he also shows his teammates some of that competitive energy that harkens back to his Adams State days.

“I’ve been getting that old fire back through each meet,” he said. “I think it helps show the guys where we could be if we compete at a high level. This has been a great opportunity all the way around … I love the school. Coach Nash is wonderful. The team is great.

Connor pushes me, which is what I need … we got out and put in around 55-60 miles a week,” he added. “The rest of the team sees that, too, and is beginning to challenge one another.”

One more challenge awaits with the 12:30 p.m. men’s 8K race and the 1:30 p.m. women’s 5K event in Washington state. Nash and Mustang fans hope to see the personalities come together to end 2019 on a high note.