SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Second-year head coach Matt Beisel is encouraged by the way his cross country teams began the 2017 season at the Dordt Classic in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Saturday. While up against many of their conference rivals, the Bulldog men placed second out of eight teams and the women took sixth among the seven squads that were officially scored. Additional teams brought individuals to the race.
Beisel’s squads are coming off sixth-place GPAC finishes in 2016. There are already signs that Concordia is likely to move up the ladder on both sides.
“They performed incredibly well,” Beisel said. “Our men realized at the beginning of the season that they have the potential to place top two or three in our conference. They worked all summer and our freshmen are really strong. They went out and got second out of eight conference teams. Our guys are really pumped up about it.
“On the girls’ side it looks deceptive. The Dordt alumni team was also scored. The girls ran great. They came off their time trial last week with the same goal: to run the first mile more conservatively. All of us are focusing on pack running. Emily (Deschaine) ran 19:33, which is a great place to be at this point in the season.”
The men placed right in front of Morningside, which had been placed second in the GPAC’s preseason rating. The lone nationally-ranked squad in the conference is Northwestern, which won the Dordt Classic on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Bulldog women outran seventh place Mount Marty.
The men did not have a top 10 finisher, but five Bulldogs placed between 11th and 21st. Leading the way were juniors Thomas Taylor (27:05) and Evan Asche (27:08), placing 11th and 12th, respectively. Next came freshman Jordan Lorenz (27:23; 16th) and seniors Pat Wortmann (27:44, 18th) and Kohlton Gabehart (27:47; 21st). The team’s four best performers following Gabehart were all freshmen: JP Reynolds, Christian Van Cleave, Cody Williams and Patrick Schneeberger.
Not surprisingly, Deschaine, a returning national qualifier, paced Concordia on the women’s side with a 10th-place claim (eighth when excluding the alumni). Among Bulldogs, she was followed by sophomore Rebekah Hinrichs (20:25; 27th), freshmen Alyssa Fye (20:29; 29th) and Everett Elder (20:40, 32nd) and sophomore Miranda Rathjen (20:52; 34th) to round out the top five. Concordia was without junior Taylor Grove, a 2017 outdoor track and field national qualifier in the marathon.
“Our women ran outstandingly well,” Beisel said. “The big question is whether they will improve more than the individuals from the other teams between now and the conference meet. I have a lot of confidence in what my kids are showing. I think in the next couple of weeks we’re really going to start to see that.”
The 2017 season will continue on Sept. 23 when the Bulldogs compete at the Dean White Invite hosted by Doane. The meet is set to get underway at 10 a.m. CT.