CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – After an overnight stay in eastern Iowa, the Concordia University cross country teams galloped to nine personal bests while finishing in fifth place on the women’s side and 12th on the men’s side at Saturday’s Seminole Valley Stampede hosted by Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids. The event featured 25 men’s teams and 25 women’s teams.
The race marked the fourth time out for first-year head coach Matt Beisel’s squads. Beisel has seen his teams improve their fitness and results throughout the season.
“I was very pleased,” Beisel said. “Our athletes are physically in the best shape of their lives. Today was about, can you make your mind do what it needs to do? I think there’s that realization that their bodies can handle it. They have to be able to push themselves through discomfort and keep focused on the target of who they’re running with. Some people were able to put that piece of the puzzle together today. They’re all right there.”
Junior Emily Sievert enjoyed a breakthrough performance, placing fifth out of 214 competitors in the women’s 5K race. She shaved more than 30 seconds off her time from her previous outing by clocking in at 18:32 on Saturday morning. Sievert was just 20 seconds off an all-time personal best. Her performance helped the Bulldogs beat out conference rival Midland (12th) and 19 other NAIA schools.
“Emily, two weeks ago ran a pretty good race. It was a season best,” Beisel said. “But she was very disappointed because she got done and was like, ‘That didn’t hurt as bad as it could have. I could have run a much better race.’ Armed with that knowledge, she got out strong from the start and pushed herself into that discomfort zone and ended up in fifth place.”
Making up the rest of the Concordia women’s top five at Seminole Valley Park were Shelbi Hackbart (19:36, 35th), Taylor Grove (19:42, 38th), Abby Protzman (20:03, 58th) and Rebekah Hinrichs (20:08, 63rd). Jacy Johnston was just behind Hinrichs, finishing in 20:10. Twelve total runners represented the Bulldog women’s team. Concordia may have finished even higher had senior Marti Vlasin been able to run on Saturday.
The men were led again by junior Patrick Wortmann, who placed 33rd with an 8K time of 26:19. That mark was a season best by more than 40 seconds. Also running in Concordia’s top five were Thomas Taylor (26:50, 53rd), Chris Shelton (27:25, 88th), Kohlton Gabehart (27:30, 91st) and Cameron Moes (27:37, 95th). Just like in the women’s race, the field included two other GPAC teams: Doane and Midland.
The Bulldogs now have two weeks to prep for the GPAC championships, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 5 at Hastings. Concordia will be back on the same course it ran at the Bronco Stampede on Sept. 17. The Concordia men placed second out of six teams and the women were third among seven squads at the Bronco Stampede.