Fourteenth-ranked Bulldog men outrun NAIA competition at Roy Griak Invite
By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota welcomed the men’s and women’s cross country teams with miserable conditions, as the Bulldogs battled wet, windy and cold conditions in the Roy Griak Invitational near St. Paul.
With 2,500 total participants over the course of the day, the meet provided plenty of competition as teams from across the nation filled the field.
The 14th-ranked Concordia men performed well on the hilly course, finishing ninth as a team among 40 schools.
“I think we ran a really solid race,” head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “It was excellent competition. We were pleased to beat all the NAIA teams that were at the meet.”
The Bulldogs knocked off sixth-ranked Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) as well as No. 16 Dickinson State (N.D.).
Junior Ben Sievert continued his excellent season, racing to a 16th place overall finish and a time of 25:57. Senior Hayden Hohnholt followed with a time of 26:38. Third for the Bulldogs was senior Adam Prahlow in 27:07, while sophomore Jordan Potrzeba and senior Beau Billings followed in 27:12 and 27:18 respectively.
“I thought Ben Sievert had a break out race,” Einspahr said. “We have a solid bunch behind him too. We have some guys moving around between our three and number nine guys. It’s a positive – if we have one guy who has an off day, another is there to take his place.”
On the women’s side, the Bulldogs finished 23rd among 33 teams.
Sophomore Kim Wood led the way with a time of 24:53. Sophomore Megan Burma finished in second for Concordia in 25:14. Junior Renee Williams was next in 25:40. Senior Jenean Williams came in fourth for the team, racing to a finish of 25:41. Junior Hayley Harpham was next in 25:56.
“We have a young team that’s getting some experience,” Einspahr said. “I think we can run better down the road. We have so many young runners, so this race was a good experience for us. As season the goes on, we are going to get better. I think they will be better at the 5k distance than at the 6k distance.”
As one of the premier races in the country, Einspahr noted that the substantial number of runners was beneficial for the Bulldogs.
“It helps us for situations down the road where there will be big fields to compete against,” Einspahr said. “I think our men did a good job of handling that. Our men are experienced and that makes a big difference.”
The cross country teams will have two weeks to prepare for their next meet, when they head to Lawrence, Kan., to compete in the NAIA National Preview Meet at Rimrock Farm. The 2013 national championships will be held at Rimrock Farm on Nov. 23.