ELSAH, Ill. – Emily Sievert’s preparation for nationals was unlike that of any other competitor at the 2016 NAIA Cross Country National Championships, which were held at North Farm Course in Elsah, Ill., on Saturday morning. Despite rarely running over the past four weeks, Sievert managed to finish the 5k race in 19:28.88, placing her 195th among the 334 runners in the field.
Sievert’s determination impressed first-year head coach Matt Beisel. Two weeks earlier Sievert placed ninth at the GPAC championships while battling a nagging bone bruise on her knee that has forced her to walk with crutches.
“She’s very gritty and has a strong mind and a will that she was going to get this done one way or another,” Beisel said. “Looking at the history of Sieverts running for Concordia, you can see it repeated here like it was with her brother (Ben). We’re going to give her some rest after this. She was going to do everything she could to make it happen. The fact that she ran under 19:30 through tough pain is a testament to her strong will. There was a lot of prayer lifting her up.”
Sievert’s workouts prior to nationals consisted of routines on treadmills and ellipticals and in pools. The lone Concordia national qualifier, Sievert traveled to the St. Louis area along with Beisel, assistant coach Mark Samuels and teammate Taylor Grove. Said Beisel of Sievert, “We’re really proud of her.”
Sievert was the biggest standout for Concordia cross country programs that both finished sixth in the GPAC this season. Based on the improvements and season and personal bests that were typical of the campaign, Beisel has high hopes for what the future will bring.
“I’m very encouraged by what our returners are going to be capable of next year,” Beisel said. “If we add a great recruiting class to that, it’s going to be something to get excited about.”
Grove and Evan Asche will compete at the half marathon hosted by Midland on Saturday, Dec. 3, in a race that will signal the start of the track and field season.