2013 Cross Country schedule/results

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 14 Concordia Short Course Concordia University MEN
WOMEN
Sept. 21 Woody Greeno Invite Pioneer Park - Lincoln, Neb. M - 3 of 18
W - 7 of 18
Sept. 28 Roy Griak Invitational Bolstad GC - St. Paul, Minn. M - 9 of 40
W - 23 of 33 

OCTOBER

Oct. 12 NAIA Preview Rim Rock Farm - Lawrence, Kan. M - 6 of 30
W - 16 of 30 
Oct. 26 Mount Marty Invite Regional Center - Yankton, S.D. M - 1 of 13
W - 4 of 12 

NOVEMBER

Nov. 9 GPAC Championships

Concordia - Seward, Neb. M - 3 of 11
W - 5 of 11 
Nov. 23 NAIA National Championships Rim Rock Farm - Lawrence, Kan. M - 24 of 32

2013 Cross Country roster

Men:

Name Yr. Hometown
Josh Allwardt Jr. Frederick, Md.
Beau Billings Sr. Valentine, Neb.
Charlie Bloomfield Jr. Blair, Neb.
Marcus Brees Jr. Lincoln, Neb. 
Ethan Bruggeman Fr. Lincoln, Neb.
Hayden Hohnholt Sr. Saratoga, Wyo.
Kole Kimle Fr. Kenesaw, Neb.
Andrew Malan Sr. Lincoln, Neb.
Ben Montgomery So. North Platte, Neb.
Taylor Mueller So. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Creighton Pearse Jr. Kearney, Neb.
Jordan Potrzeba So. Hastings, Neb.
Adam Prahlow Sr. St. Louis, Mo. 
Luke Riley Jr. Lincoln, Neb.
Casey Roberts Jr. Wamego, Kan.
Chris Shelton Fr. Minden, Neb.
Ben Sievert Jr. Frankenmuth, Mich.
Tim von Behren Sr. Elk Creek, Neb.
Matthias Wollberg Jr. Kearney, Neb.

Women:

Name Yr. Hometown
Savanah Baker So.  Broomfield, Colo.
Breanna Brockhaus So. Humphrey, Neb.
Megan Burma So. Platte, S.D.
Ashley Canfield Fr. Crete, Neb.
Michaela Curran So. Wahoo, Neb.
Haley Harpham Sr. McCook, Neb.
Shelby Hohnholt Jr. Saratoga, Wyo.
Kelly Murray Jr. Honey Creek, Iowa
Lauren Pankow So. Milwaukee, Wis.
Erika Schroeder Jr. Davenport, Neb.
Theresa Staley Jr. Lincoln, Neb.
Angie Steinbacher Fr. St. Charles, Mo.
Jessy Sweet Fr. Colorado Springs, Colo.
Jenean Williams Sr. Mankato, Minn. 
Renee Williams Jr. Lincoln, Neb.
Kim Wood So. Greeley, Neb.

Defending GPAC champion Bulldogs ranked 14th in preseason poll

28 AUG 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Coming off a GPAC title in 2012, head coach Kregg Einspahr’s Concordia men’s cross country squad will begin the 2013 season ranked among the nation’s top 25. The Bulldogs checked in at No. 14 in the 2013 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 poll, released on Wednesday.

The ranking comes on the heels of a 21st-place finish at the 2012 NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championships. Concordia earned an automatic bid to nationals last season thanks to winning the conference crown.

Einspahr’s team loses 2012 GPAC Men’s Runner of the Year Colin Morrissey, but there is no shortage of depth with most of last season’s top runners back in the fold. Senior Hayden Hohnholt of Saratoga, Wyo., and Junior Ben Sievert of Frankenmuth, Mich., figure to lead the way at the top of the heap for Concordia.

“I think they’ll provide great 1-2 front-running capability for us,” Einspahr said. “You’ve always got to have those frontrunners to be a very good team and we should with those two. The real question is how we are going to stack up from 3 through 6. That’s going to be the key for us to be a good team. We have personnel who can step up into those positions.”

The Bulldogs appear to be a strong contender for the GPAC title once again this season. The only other conference school ranked in the preseason poll was Morningside at No. 18.

Concordia begins its season on Saturday, Sept. 14 when it hosts the Concordia Short Course meet.

Alums welcome to participate in Sept. 14 cross country meet

4 SEP 2013

SEWARD, Neb. - Bulldog cross country and track and field alums are invited to participate when Concordia University hosts the Concordia Short Course meet on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 10 a.m. The meet will feature runners from the current Bulldog cross country teams as well as runners from Hastings College. Both male and female entrants will run a 5K course.

Alums who wish to participate in the Concordia Short Course meet must contact Bulldog head coach Kregg Einspahr ahead of time. Coach Einspahr can be reached via email at Kregg.Einspahr@cune.edu.

Bulldog cross country: 2013 season preview

10 SEP 2013

MEN
Head Coach: Kregg Einspahr (21 years; four conference titles; 14 national top 25 finishes)
2012 Finishes: first in GPAC; 21st at National Championships
Key Returners: Beau Billings, Charlie Bloomfield, Hayden Hohnholt, Taylor Mueller, Creighton Pearce, Jordan Potrzeba, Adam Prahlow, Ben Sievert
Key Loss: Joel Heckmann, Jared Hoffman, Colin Morrissey
2012 GPAC All-Conference: Kregg Einspahr (Coach of the Year), Colin Morrissey (Runner of the Year), Hayden Hohnholt, Ben Sievert

WOMEN
Head Coach: Kregg Einspahr (21 years; five conference titles; 17 national top 20 finishes)
2012 Finishes: second in GPAC (Sarah Kortze and Jena Schwalenberg qualified individually for nationals)
Key Returners: Michaela Curran, Shelby Hohnholt, Megan Letts, Erika Schroeder, Theresa Staley, Jenean Williams, Renee Williams, Kim Wood
Key Losses: Sarah Kortze, Christina Roach, Jena Schwalenberg, Christina Tomka
2012 GPAC All-Conference: Sarah Kortze (Runner of the Year), Jena Schwalenberg
2012 NAIA All-America: Sarah Kortze

 

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

Outlook:
The scorching summer heat has done little to slow the training of the Bulldog men’s and women’s cross country teams as they prepare to race through another season. All attention is focused upon getting to Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan., the site of this year’s NAIA cross country championships.

Head coach Kregg Einspahr returns for his 22nd season at the helm of a program with high expectations.  

With the losses of standout runners Colin Morrissey, Sarah Kortze and Jena Schwalenberg, Einspahr isn’t spending much time looking back.

“You just don’t replace those individuals,” Einspahr said. “You start over. Every year is a different dynamic. Every year teams are different. They respond differently. It’s a little bit of an experiment every year to see what’s going to work with them and hope you get it right.”

Entering the season with a No. 14 national ranking, the men will be gearing up for their second-straight trip to the national meet and their 12th appearance in 13 years.

The men’s squad will bring back a lot of experience from their national qualifying team a year ago. Of the seven individuals who raced in Vancouver, Wash., six return.

The team will be led by juniors Ben Sievert and Hayden Hohnholt, who will provide a solid one-two punch as race front runners.

“Hayden and Ben both have been training well over the summer and tend to be able to handle some good training and stay healthy, which is extremely important in terms of consistency,” Einspahr said. “You’ve always got to have those frontrunners to be a very good team and we should with those two.”

While the team boasts an excellent duo in Sievert and Hohnholt, there is work to be done with the remaining spots that will fill a roster to win the GPAC championship and earn Concordia a second consecutive trip to the national meet.

“The real question is how we are going to stack up from three through six,” Einspahr said. “That’s going to be the key for us to be a good team. We have personnel who can step up into those positions. We’ll just have to see if they’re focused, healthy and competing well. I think they’ve had a reasonably good summer of training and can step into those spots.”

Among the runners that Einspahr noted could compete for the next four spots are juniors Adam Prahlow, Beau Billings, Matthias Wollberg, Charlie Bloomfield, sophomores Jordan Potrzeba and Taylor Mueller and up-and-coming freshman Chris Shelton.

Entering his third season as a Bulldog, Sievert displayed nothing but confidence as he broke down his goals for the 2013 season.

“Team wise, I think we should have another shot to win the conference title,” Sievert said. “Obviously our goal every year is to make the national championship. As a team, one of our goals should be to be focused all season long and bring it every day to practice because that’s where it starts and we need to give God all the glory in all that we do.”

The women’s squad will be in search of new leadership and front-running capabilities after the loss of national All-American Sarah Kortze and fellow national qualifier Jena Schwalenberg.

“We certainly don’t have the experience we’ve had in past years so there are a lot of question marks on the women’s side in terms how we’re going to stack up in the conference and on the national level,” Einspahr said.

Sophomore Kim Wood and junior Renee Williams will lead the way for a team that includes a “strong group of incoming freshmen.”

Wood returns for her second career cross country season after a breakout year on the track last season.

“She’s been training very well,” Einspahr said of Wood. “She had some excellent marks last year during the track season. I think she can be a top runner in the conference.”

Williams also finished the 2013 track season well, and will look for her success to carry over onto the grassy terrains.

“I think cross country really suits her well,” Einspahr said. “She’s a strong runner. If she comes in healthy and can stay healthy, I think she can look forward to having a very good season.”

Staring into the face of the upcoming season, Williams acknowledged the need for overall team improvement, and a hard work ethic that will be crucial for the team’s success this season.

“I think we need to come together as a team because right now it’s looking like we have a lot of work to do before our races,” Williams said. “We need to not be afraid to go for it. We need to put it all out on the course. If we’re not giving 110 percent, we’re not going to make it anywhere.”

“We definitely want to keep God in the center because we’re not going to get anywhere without that. If we can humble ourselves and keep Him in the center, that’s going to be really good. We’re going to try and do a lot more team bonding this year so that we can encourage each other and make sure that we’re not trying to go at it by ourselves.”

As the season continues to unfold, Einspahr noted that the first couple meets will give him a good idea of where his runners are at and the amount of effort that they put into their off season training. However it is important to remember, he stated, that the ultimate goal will be towards the end of the season, and will not ride as heavily as the results early on.

“We’ll start a little slow this year,” Einspahr said. “I think it’s important to always remember that what happens at the end of the season in cross country and track is what’s most important. I’m not going to get in a big hurry to push too hard, too early. It’s what happens in November that counts, not in September. We may be training pretty hard, but we may not necessarily look like world beaters early in the season. It will come down to November for conference and national championships.”

As for the rest of the conference, the Bulldog women will likely find themselves in a battle for the GPAC championship with Doane, Nebraska Wesleyan and defending champion, Dordt.

The men will be in contention with Morningside and Nebraska Wesleyan among others to earn their second-straight conference title.

The first gun sounds on Saturday, Sept. 14 when Concordia hosts the Short Course meet at 10 a.m.

Hohnholt, Wood emerge as Bulldog frontrunners in opening meet

14 SEP 2013

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

SEWARD, Neb. – The cross country season is officially underway as the Bulldogs got off to a fast start when they hosted the annual Concordia Short Course Meet, which featured a 5K course for both the men and women.

Playing host to Hastings College as well as a few alums, the Bulldogs swept the men’s and women’s races.

For the men, senior Hayden Hohnholt ran away with a first place finish in a time of 15:56, besting teammate Ben Sievert, who took second place in 16:20. A host of Bulldogs followed suit, as junior Creighton Pearse took third in 16:35, junior Josh Allwardt placed fourth in 16:37 and sophomore Jordan Potrzeba claimed fifth in 16:39. A rare perfect score was broken up by one alum who placed third overall. Overall, the top men’s times were notably faster than last season, pointing to improvements in strength and maturity among the Bulldog runners.

On the women’s side, sophomore Kim Wood raced to a strong second place overall finish and first for the team with a time of 20:14. Freshman Jessamyn Sweet had an impressive showing, racing to a third place overall finish behind Wood, and crossing the finish line in 20:21. Sophomore Megan Burma took third for the Bulldogs, racing to a time of 20:56, while juniors Haley Harpham and Renee Williams took fourth and fifth in 21:01 and 21:12 respectively.

The Bulldogs will travel to Lincoln, Neb. on Sat., at Pioneer Park to compete in the Woody Greeno Invite, a large meet that contains a few hundred runners in each of the men’s and women’s races. The women’s race begins at 10 am with the men’s race to follow.

Bulldog men finish third, women seventh at Woody Greeno Invite

21 SEP 2013

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

LINCOLN, Neb. – Running in their first full length races of the season, the Concordia men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Pioneer Park in Lincoln Neb., to participate in the Woody Greeno Invitational. Competing against top competition, the Bulldogs raced in a large field that contained 226 men and 271 women.

The men placed third among 18 teams in the college division. Junior Ben Sievert was first for the Bulldogs, racing to an eighth place overall finish and a time of 25:58. Senior Hayden Hohnholt was second in 26:25 and 11th place overall. Sophomore Jordan Portzeba was next in 27:00, followed by junior Josh Allwardt in 27:10 and senior Adam Prahlow in 27:15.

“Ben and Hayden ran well,” head Coach Kregg Einspahr said. “I think Hayden is capable of running better but it was a solid race for him. Our men finished third behind two really good teams.”

Einspahr was also pleased with the performance of his top sophomore runner.

“Jordan Potrzeba really showed good improvement,” Einspahr said. “He’s a great competitor and he continues to get better and continues to surprise me. He really impressed me today.”

Although there is much work to be done, Einspahr was satisfied with his team’s performance.

“We’ve got a long ways to go, but I was pleased with how we looked and how we competed today,” Einspahr said. “I think our men can compete at the top of the GPAC. They’re going to keep getting better. Overall we’ve got a real solid men’s team.”

Finishing behind Iowa Central Community College and Nebraska Kearney, Concordia beat three other GPAC conference schools that were in attendance.

The women placed seventh among 18 teams in the college division and were led by sophomore Kim Wood who took 23rd overall and finished in 23:57. Freshman Jessy Sweet was 25th overall and raced to a time of 24:01. Junior Renee Williams followed in 24:39, junior Haley Harpham finished in 25:02 and sophomore Megan Burma crossed the finish line in 25:14. The women finished third behind Dordt and Doane among GPAC attendees.

Einspahr believes Wood, Sweet and the rest of the squad will build upon Saturday’s effort.

“Overall I thought our women ran well,” Einspahr said. “I was pleased with how they did. Kim and Jessy continue to get better. Kim put in some really good time in the summer and that’s going to start to show up. The same goes for Jessy. We’ve got a bunch of hard workers.”

The Bulldogs head up to St. Paul, Minn., to compete in the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 28.  As the biggest cross country meet in the nation, it will host top competition.

“We will be running with some great competition,” Einspahr said. “We hope to go up there and represent Concordia well. It’s another big field. I think it’s good for us to run in big races.”

Fourteenth-ranked Bulldog men outrun NAIA competition at Roy Griak Invite

29 SEP 2013

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.

Sievert collects GPAC Cross Country Runner of the Week award

2 OCT 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia junior Ben Sievert used an exceptional performance at the Sept. 28 Roy Griak Invitational to earn GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week, the league announced on Wednesday afternoon. Sievert twice received the same award as a sophomore last season.

Sievert led the 10th-ranked Bulldogs to a ninth-place team finish out of 40 squads at the Roy Griak meet, where Concordia outran all of its NAIA competition (including then No. 6 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) and then No. 16 Dickinson State (N.D.). The Frankenmuth, Mich., native completed the 8K course in 25:57, placing 15th on the individual leaderboard – above all NAIA participants.

Sievert is already a two-time all-conference honoree and two-time competitor at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships. He has placed first among Bulldog runners at each of the last two meets – Roy Griak and the Woody Greeno Invite.

Concordia cross country returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 12 when it travels to Lawrence, Kan., for the NAIA National Preview meet at Rim Rock Farms. Lawrence will host this year’s national championships on Nov. 23.

No. 12 Bulldog men place sixth at NAIA Preview Meet

12 OCT 2013

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Concordia men’s and women’s cross country squads got a taste of what their season ending goals will be like as they headed south to compete in the NAIA Preview Meet at the historical Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan. The Bulldogs faced highly-ranked competition against numerous teams from the NAIA.

With high aspirations coming into a meet full of competition from quality NAIA opponents, head coach Kregg Einspahr felt his team had a solid performance, but didn’t quite meet their potential.

“We had a good race, but not a great race,” Einspahr said. “A couple guys ran really well and a couple guys had off days. It was a solid race but not a great race against some good competition.”

The men finished sixth among 30 teams and were led by junior Ben Sievert, who raced to a 13th place finish in a scorching 25:28. Senior Hayden Hohnholt was next in 26:24, followed closely by sophomore Jordan Potrzeba in 26:32. Senior Beau Billings and junior Charlie Bloomfield rounded out the top five in 26:43 and 26:45 respectively.

A young women’s squad continued to progress, as the meet provided a valuable growing opportunity for the Bulldogs.

“I thought we had a solid race against some good competition,” Einspahr said. “I thought Jessamyn Sweet had a good race today. We will continue to get better as the season goes on. We’re a very young team and it was a good learning experience.”

Freshman Jessamyn Sweet led the Bulldog charge as she raced to a time of 19:35. Sophomore Kim Wood was close behind in 19:44. Junior Renee Williams placed 3rd for Concordia in 20:29. Freshman Ashley Canfield and sophomore Megan Burma placed 4th and 5th for the Bulldogs in 20:36 and 20:46 respectively. The women finished 16h out of 30 teams.

Concordia will use their week off to prepare for their next meet in Yankton, S.D. when it heads north to compete in the Mount Marty Invite on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Sievert named GPAC Runner of the Week for second time in three weeks

16 OCT 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia junior Ben Sievert collected yet another weekly honor on Wednesday as the conference announced the Frankenmuth, Mich., native as the GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for the second time in three weeks. Sievert earned the same honor twice last season.

In his latest performance, Sievert clocked in at 25:28 (13th place) on the 8K course at Rim Rock Farms in Lawrence, Kan., on Oct. 12. That time is nearly 30 seconds faster than his previous season best of 25:57 at the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 28. That effort allowed Sievert to earn GPAC Runner of the Week accolades on Oct. 2.

Sievert is already a two-time all-conference honoree and two-time competitor at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships. He has placed first among Bulldog runners at each of the season’s first three meets that were played out on an 8K course.

Concordia cross country returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 26 when it travels to Yankton, S.D., for the Mount Marty Invite. The meet will get started at 10:30 a.m.

Fifteenth-rated Bulldog men take Mount Marty Invite title

26 OCT 2013

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

YANKTON, S.D. – The frigid and breezy conditions couldn’t slow the Concordia men’s and women’s cross country squads as they competed in the “best races that they’ve had all season,” according to head coach Kregg Einspahr.

The race was a battle from the beginning, but the Bulldogs responded with a resilient effort in the middle of the race, a point at which Einspahr constantly stresses is the most important.

“The guys had a tremendous race,” Einspahr said. “We came out and I thought we had some good position but we kind of gave that away in the middle of the race with two and a half miles to go. We were considerably behind in the team scoring behind Dickinson State and Morningside both and we had some guys really start to move and continue to move through the race and just have a great finish on it. I think that was probably our best race of the season.

The men’s team was victorious for the first time this season, holding off stiff competition from conference rivals Morningside and Dordt, ranked 18th and 24th, respectively.

“It was great competition. Dickinson State, Dordt and Morningside have all been top 25 teams during the season at one point or another,” Einspahr said. “We came out and were able to handle them.”

Junior Ben Sievert led the Bulldog cause with a second place overall finish in 25:27, just three seconds behind the winner. Senior Beau Billings edged out fellow senior Hayden Hohnholt at the finish line to take second for the team and eighth overall in 26:09.42, with Hohnholt on his heels in 26:09.81 and ninth place overall. Sophomore Jordan Potrzeba was next in 26:15 and a 13th overall place finish. Junior Charlie Bloomfield was not far behind as he placed 17th with a time of 26:21.

“In particular, I thought Beau Billings and Charlie Bloomfield had season best races,” Einspahr said. “They put themselves in position to do well today and they came through with great races and that was great to see. They compete extremely well; I’m very pleased with them.”

The women had a good race of their own, finishing fourth among 12 teams, improving their times and competing well.

“We ran much better today,” Einspahr said. “We’re a young team and very inexperienced team. Our gals have been practicing really well the last week and a half and they’re working very hard. It’s nice to see the team come out and have their best race of the season. I’m very pleased with how they competed. It was nice to see them finish fourth and have some real good races. I’m very happy with them.”

Kim Wood led the Bulldog pack with a 17th overall place finish and a time of 19:32. Junior Renee Williams placed second for the team in 19:53. Sophomore Megan Burma was next in 20:07 while junior Jenean Williams and junior Erika Schroeder raced to times of 20:17 and 20:20 respectively.

Concordia will have the next two weeks to prepare for the GPAC conference championship meet, which they will host on their home course. Winning the conference championship will mean an automatic berth in the NAIA cross country meet. Last season Concordia’s men won the conference behind individual GPAC champion Colin Morrissey. The Bulldogs also had the women’s titlist with Sarah Kortze topping the field.

The championship gun will sound at 10:45 a.m. in Seward on Saturday, Nov. 9.

Concordia set to host 2013 GPAC Cross Country Championships

6 NOV 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – For the first time since 2004, Concordia University will play host to the GPAC cross country championships when the women’s race gets started at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday. Head coach Kregg Einspahr’s Bulldogs hope to benefit from the home-course advantage just as they did in 2004 when Concordia’s men’s and women’s teams both captured GPAC titles.

“This certainly is a treat to be able to compete on our home course in front of a home crowd,” Einspahr said. “It is a definite home-field advantage.”

The 22nd-year head coach likes the way his squad has come on as the most important races of the season beckon. In Concordia’s most recent outing, the 16th-ranked Bulldog men won the team title at the Mount Marty Invite with junior Ben Sievert placing second in a time of 25:27.

With Sievert, twice named GPAC Runner of the Week this season, competing with the likes of Nebraska Wesleyan’s Johnny Rutford and Morningside’s Garrett Ehlers at the top of the heap, Concordia stands a legitimate chance to win the GPAC meet for the second-straight year.

“Obviously in the GPAC a conference championship is cherished,” Einspahr said. “This is as tough of a conference as it gets. GPAC conference championships are pretty special. There are probably four or five teams that could realistically win the men’s team championship on Saturday.”

Sievert, a native of Frankenmuth, Mich., would love to move up from his sixth-place finish at last year’s conference championships. The 2012 Concordia squad got great representation at the top with then senior Colin Morrissey winning the GPAC title in 25:08 and Hayden Hohnholt, now a senior, placing third in 25:16.

As the No. 16-ranked team in NAIA cross country, Concordia’s men enter the meet as the highest rated GPAC member. Dordt is ranked No. 23 while Morningside is receiving votes. The top-five finishers at last season’s GPAC championships were, in order: Concordia, Morningside, Nebraska Wesleyan, Doane and Dordt.

On the women’s side, Concordia’s outlook appears different than it did at this time a year ago when it had elite frontrunners in Sarah Kortze and Jena Schwalenberg, who used up their cross country eligibility last season. Kortze and Schwalenberg finished 1-2 at the GPAC meet as the Bulldogs placed second as a team.

The Bulldogs are now reliant upon the growth of underclassmen like sophomore Kim Wood and freshman Jessy Sweet – the team’s top runners throughout this season. Wood has made big strides in practice and came through with a 17th-place time of 19:32 at the Mount Marty Invite.

“On the women’s side, we had our best meet of the season at Mount Marty and our best workouts of the year last week,” Einspahr said. “So we are looking to have our best meet of the season on Saturday on our home course.”

The fifth-ranked Dordt women are coming off a championship at Mount Marty and are considered the favorite to take a second GPAC crown in a row. Doane, ranked No. 22 in the national poll, could also factor into the race for the title.

Last year’s top-five team finishers on the women’s side were, in order: Dordt, Concordia, Nebraska Wesleyan, Doane and Morningside.

Dating back to 1969, Nebraska Wesleyan holds the most combined GPAC/NIAC men’s team titles with 21. Concordia has the most individual titlists during that time period with 17. The Bulldogs have had three different individuals win three or more championships in a row: Dan Cloeter (1970-73), Einspahr (1979-81) and Brandon Seifert (1997-99).

Dating back to 1979, Nebraska Wesleyan also owns the most combined GPAC/NIAC women’s team titles with 12. Doane boasts the most individual titlists with 10.

Concordia men’s team conference titles (6): 1971, 1972, 1997, 2004, 2009, 2012

Concordia men’s individual conference titlists (17):
-Dan Cloeter (1970, 1971, 1972, 1973)
-Dave Cloeter (1975)
-Kregg Einspahr (1979, 1980, 1981)
-Zach Meineke (2008, 2009)
-Colin Morrissey (2012)
-Dana Schmidt (2010)
-Brandon Seifert (1997, 1998, 1999)
-Andrew Walquist (2003, 2004)

Concordia women’s team conference titles (5): 1995, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005

Concordia women’s individual conference titlists (7):
-Molly Engel (2002, 2003, 2004)
-Stacey Hain (1998)
-Sharon Holthaus (1980)
-Sarah Kortze (2012)
-Amy Luft (1997)

Concordia men place third, women fifth at GPAC championships

9 NOV 2013

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

SEWARD, Neb. – The cross country regular season came to a close as the Bulldogs competed in the GPAC conference championships on their home course on the Concordia campus. Finishing in fifth, the women saw several competitors run their best races of the season. For the men, all hopes of clinching the GPAC championship were crushed when they placed third with a disappointing finish that will leave them guessing as to whether or not they can take their team to the national championships in Lawrence, Kan. The men’s future will likely be decided on Monday afternoon.

Head coach Kregg Einspahr was pleased with the performance of the women’s squad, and while they didn’t quite finish as high as they were hoping, he remained positive.  

“I thought we had some gals that had their best race of the season,” Einspahr said. “Erika, Jenean and Renee in particular had very good races. We just had a little bit of a mixed bag. Renee just had her best race of the season by far, I thought. We would like to finish better than fifth in the conference, but overall I thought we had a pretty good race.”

Junior Renee Williams ran to a 15th place finish in a time of 19:22, placing first for the Bulldogs. Junior Erika Schroeder was next in 20:13. Senior Jenean Williams was close behind in 20:18 with sophomore Megan Burma on her heals in 20:21. Despite battling a foot injury, sophomore Kim Wood was able to grit out a 20:32.

As for the men, they were not able to repeat as conference champions, falling short to Morningside College and Nebraska Wesleyan University.  

“I thought on the men’s side we just had some guys that didn’t come through with very good races today and at the conference championship, you’ve got to have everyone fired,” Einspahr said. “It’s a tough conference and going in I thought we had four or five teams that could legitimately win the conference championship, and you can’t have an off day and think you’re going to win the championships.

“We had some fellas that had good races but we didn’t hit on all cylinders today and that’s what you have to do to win the conference championship. Obviously we’re disappointed to finish third; we wanted to win the conference championship.”

“Obviously, we’re all a little disappointed because we were hoping to get the automatic bid and head to the national championships but we weren’t able to do that today,” junior Ben Sievert said. “It was disappointing. It didn’t go our way today so we just need to remember to praise the Lord in the good and the bad.”

Sievert led the way for the Bulldogs, racing to a third place overall finish and a time of 26:30.

Sievert explained his goals and race strategy going into the meet as well as his feelings on the outcome of his team’s performance.

“I’m really happy with how the race went for myself today,” Sievert said. “To make nationals is really just a great blessing in my life. I was hoping to win it; I mean obviously no one wants to get third place, but still, third place in this conference is definitely something to be happy with. I went for it and I just got out hard early and I just thought I’d give my all early in the race and see what happened. Unfortunately it didn’t go my way today. It’s all good to be able to make it to nationals is still a cool thing to say.”

Einspahr shared his own comments as to the strategy that Sievert tried to carry out.

“Ben really gave it a shot to try and win the championship,” Einspahr said. “He may have spent a little more energy in the middle of the race but those are the kinds of chances you have to take to win the conference championship.”

Senior Hayden Hohnholt placed second for the team and sixth overall with a time of 26:44. Sophomore Jordan Potrzeba raced to a ninth place overall finish in 26:57 with senior Beau Billings not far behind at 15th overall and a time of 27:09.

Looking ahead, Sievert and Hohnholt have guaranteed paths to the National Championships with Potrzeba likely headed there as well.

Einspahr expressed his thoughts on the upcoming meet and how he thinks his runners will fare in a couple weeks.

“I think Ben Sievert has a good shot to be an All-American,” Einspahr said. “Hayden might have an outside shot as well. They both had good races today. (Sievert) had a good season and I think he’ll have a good race at nationals.”

No. 19 Bulldogs receive at-large bid to cross country national championships

11 NOV 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – For the 20th-straight year, Concordia will have representation at the NAIA cross country national championships. Head coach Kregg Einspahr’s 19th-ranked men’s squad received an at-large bid to the 2013 championships, as announced by the NAIA on Monday afternoon. The event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan.

This year will mark the 12th time in the past 13 seasons that Einspahr has guided the men to the national championships. Over his 22 years as head coach, Einspahr’s men’s and women’s cross country teams have now combined for 31 appearances on the national stage. At least one Concordia cross country squad has reached the national championships in 20-consecutive seasons.

The men get a bid despite a third-place finish at Saturday’s GPAC championship meet. Concordia had hoped to capture a second-straight conference title after winning last season.

Individually, senior Beau Billings, junior Charlie Bloomfield, senior Hayden Hohnholt, sophomore Jordan Potrzeba, senior Adam Prahlow and junior Ben Sievert all carry prior national championship experience having run at last year’s meet in Vancouver, Wash. Colin Morrissey, last year’s GPAC Runner of the Year, is Concordia’s only 2012 national championships competitor that has graduated and moved on. As a team, Concordia placed 21st.

Had Concordia not garnered a team at-large bid, Sievert, Hohnholt, Potrzeba and Billings would have received individual bids to nationals after each finished among the top 15 at the GPAC championships.

On the women’s side, Bulldog junior Renee Williams came up just short of qualifying individually. She topped Concordia with a 15th-place finish at the GPAC meet. The men’s 8K race will begin at 10:30 a.m. CST on Nov. 23.

A total of 32 teams and 97 individuals are set to compete at the men’s cross country national championships. In all, 64 different NAIA institutions will be represented at the meet.

For more information on the 2013 NAIA Cross Country National Championships, visit the NAIA’s cross country page HERE.

For year-by-year national team finishes for Concordia cross country since 1992, click HERE.

Concordia runners with national championships experience:

Beau Billings
2012: 146th place (26:36)
2010: 191st place (27:25)

Charlie Bloomfield
2012: 218th place (27:18)

Hayden Hohnholt
2012: 126th place (26:26)

Jordan Potrzeba
2012: 272nd place (28:19)

Adam Prahlow
2012: 242nd place (27:34)
2010: 236th place (27:56)

Ben Sievert
2012: 51st place (25:38)

Five Bulldog runners officially named to all-conference teams

12 NOV 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – Thanks to top 15 individual finishes at the GPAC championships meet on Nov. 9, five combined Concordia men’s and women’s runners have officially received all-conference cross country recognition. Representing the Bulldogs on the list are: senior Beau Billings, senior Hayden Hohnholt, sophomore Jordan Potrzeba, junior Ben Sievert and junior Renee Williams.

Both Sievert and Hohnholt are repeat winners. Sievert, a native of Frankenmuth, Mich., has collected all-conference honors in each of his first three seasons at Concordia. Meanwhile, Hohnholt, who hails from Saratoga, Wyo., has raced to GPAC recognition for the second time in his career.

The trio of Billings, Potrzeba and Williams find themselves on the all-conference teams for the first times in their careers.

As a team, the Concordia men placed third at the conference meet and now look forward to the national championships on Nov. 23 after receiving an at-large bid. The women’s season has come to an end following a fifth-place conference finish.

GPAC finishes by Concordia all-conference honorees

MEN
Beau Billings: 15th place (27:10)
Hayden Hohnholt: 6th place (26:44)
Jordan Potrzeba: 9th place (26:57)
Ben Sievert: 3rd place (26:30)

WOMEN
Renee Williams: 15th place (19:23)

Sievert-led Bulldogs seek top 15 finish at national championships

21 NOV 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – After finishing a disappointing third at the conference meet on Nov. 9, the 19th-ranked Concordia men’s cross country team enters the national championship meet with something to prove. The nationally-respected Bulldogs will perform at the NAIA cross country championships for the 12th time in 13 seasons when the race gets started at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan.

“I don’t think our ranking is an indicator of how great our team is,” said Concordia’s top runner, Ben Sievert. “I think if we can come together and click we shouldn’t have a problem being top 15.”

With the temperature expected to hover around 30 degrees at race time in Lawrence, 22nd-year head coach Kregg Einspahr’s bunch could hold an advantage over competitors used to running in much warmer weather. Even more importantly, Concordia will be running on a familiar course that it competed on back on Oct. 12 at the NAIA National Preview Meet.

“It’s a course somewhat like ours, somewhat like Pioneer Park (in Lincoln),” Einspahr said. “There are some wide-open grassy areas and some short, steep hills and some trails. Those are components that we have on our course. This is an outstanding course. It’s very well-designed. It’s very challenging as a course but we ran well earlier in the season on the same course. I think it’s a big advantage to have run on the course already once.”

Concordia left for Lawrence at around 8 a.m. on Thursday. The Bulldogs plan to take a light run on the course Thursday and then jog the race route again on Friday. Sievert says they will get to bed by 10 p.m. on Friday and then wake up about 7 a.m. on Saturday prior to going through their routine of a 10-minute run, breakfast at the hotel and stretching before the gun goes off.

As much as they may try to approach the race just like any other, Sievert says there are aspects that just feel different the morning of a national championship race.

“Going into it the morning of (the race) there’s always this sense of nervousness around the team and everyone,” Sievert said. “The hotels have multiple teams staying there and it’s just really quiet at the continental breakfast. Guys are a lot more focused going in. Once you get to the course it feels just like a normal meet.”

Sievert heads a list of six Concordia returners who also ran at last year’s national championships in Vancouver, Wash. As a group, the Bulldogs placed 21st with Sievert’s 51st-place individual finish in a time of 25:38 pacing the team at the 2012 event.

Einspahr says his squad will run its top seven GPAC finishers this Saturday. That means Sievert will be joined at Rim Rock Farm by senior Hayden Hohnholt, sophomore Jordan Potrzeba, senior Beau Billings, freshman Chris Shelton, junior Charlie Bloomfield and junior Josh Allwardt. The Bulldogs will also have some alternates on hand should they need a fill in.

Since the GPAC championships concluded, preparation has been more about getting ready mentally than physically. At this stage of the season, the Bulldogs log fewer miles in an effort to stay fresh.

“Our mileage has toned down a lot,” Sievert said. “Now is kind of the taper portion of our season. We’ve probably dropped almost 30 miles a week. When we were in preseason and midseason we were hitting about 70 miles every week. I think last week we only hit about 45.

“About two weeks before, these workouts aren’t really going to help us a lot or increase our speed too much. It’s just going to keep our legs under us from here on out and keep us fresh.”

Added Einspahr prior to Tuesday afternoon’s practice, “We’re trying to get refocused a little bit yet this week. I don’t think we’re quite altogether in terms of our focus yet. We’ll get there.”

Sievert, native of Frankenmuth, Mich., does not appear to have any trouble honing his focus in on the ultimate prize. The three-time all-conference place finisher believes he’s ready to take a big step forward.

“I would really like to be top 30 for All-American this year,” Sievert said. “Looking at it I think if I just run well and keep my focus on the things that matter it’s a good possibility. I kind of changed my mindset a lot this year. I used to just be running for the win and put so much pressure on myself. Now I’ve refocused and realize that I’m running more for God and not as much on myself. That really helps me relax.”

Einspahr thinks both Sievert and Hohnholt and can push for All-America finishes. He also has high hopes for the rest of his team at Saturday’s national championships.

“We’d like to have seven guys in the top 100,” Einspahr said. “Hopefully we’ll get a couple in the top 40 and I think Ben and Hayden have a chance to compete for All-America honors and finish in the top 30. Ben in particular has been running well all season. He’s been real consistent in big meets. This is a big meet and he’s competed really well in that kind of competition.”

Twelve Bulldog runners garner Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete recognition

22 NOV 2013

SEWARD, Neb. – For the second-straight year, exactly 12 Concordia cross country runners have been named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes, as announced by the NAIA on Friday. Repeat award winners include seniors Beau Billings, Andrew Malan, Theresa Staley, Tim von Behren and Jenean Williams. (View the full list of 2013 Concordia honorees below).

In order to be nominated by an institution's head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status to qualify for this honor.

Concordia ranks as the NAIA’s all-time leader in number of Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes with 931 and counting. During the 2012-13 academic year, Concordia had 71 Scholar-Athletes and 17 NAIA Scholar-Teams.

Concordia University, Nebraska, founded in 1894, is a fully accredited, coeducational university located in Seward, Neb., that currently serves over 2,200 students. Concordia offers more than 50 professional and liberal arts programs in an excellent academic and Christ-centered community that equips men and women for lives of learning, service and leadership in the church and world.

2013 Concordia men’s cross country Scholar-Athletes:
Josh Allward, Sr. (Frederick, Md.)
Beau Billings, Sr. (Valentine, Neb.)
Hayden Hohnholt, Sr. (Saratoga, Wyo.)
Andrew Malan, Sr. (Lincoln, Neb.)
Creighton Pearse, Jr. (Kearney, Neb.)
Casey Roberts, Jr. (Wamego, Kan.)
Ben Sievert, Jr. (Frankenmuth, Mich.)
Tim von Behren, Sr. (Elk Creek, Neb.)
Matthias Wollberg, Jr. (Kearney, Neb.)

2013 Concordia women’s cross country Scholar-Athletes:
Theresa Staley, Sr. (Lincoln, Neb.)
Jenean Williams, Sr. (Mankato, Minn.)
Renee Williams, Jr. (Lincoln, Neb.)

Sievert races to All-America finish at national championships

23 NOV 2013

By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Home of the NAIA cross country meet, Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence Kan., welcomed the 19th-ranked Concordia men’s cross country team with frigid temperatures and piercing winds to suit a challenging course complete with steep hills, winding turns, covered bridges and wide terrains. Having made the trek to Rim Rock back on October 12, the Bulldogs knew what to expect.

Junior Ben Sievert was as prepared as anyone in the field. With a fearsome intensity in his eyes, he got out quick from the start of the gun, placing himself in the top 10 at the 100 meter mark. The early position would prove crucial to his 25:02, 19th-place overall finish, All-American honors and “the best race of his career” according to head coach Kregg Einspahr.

“I though Ben Sievert had just a tremendous race today,” Einspahr said. “He had an excellent time on a tough, challenging course. He was running very well, got himself in great position. He got himself in the top twenty right off the bat in the first 800 meters and he ran from there for the entire race. He was anywhere from 10th to 35th through the whole race. He had a great race and I think that was the highlight of the day.”

As a first time cross country All-American, the usual humble Sievert explained the mentality, toughness and strategy that it took to compete with the best of the best in the nation.

“I thought it went really well,” Sievert said. “The most important thing that I was worried about was just getting out and getting good position. Freshman year at nationals, I didn’t get good position and since then I’ve learned how important it is to get out hard. It’s gonna hurt, and it did hurt, but just getting out hard is what really set the tone.

“I found a couple guys that I recognized from the pre national meet and I just said, ‘I gotta stick with these guys.’ I know these guys are good and I can stick with these guys. I just let myself get latched on to that pack and just held on as long as I could I thank God for giving me the strength to run as well as I was able to today."

Behind Sievert, the rest of the Bulldog squad struggled to achieve and maintain position, which drastically affected the outcome of their overall team finish.

Although it was not the finish he was at all anticipating or hoping for, Einspahr looked for the positives in the midst of disappointment.

“We were happy on the men’s side to finish in the top 25,” Einspahr said. “We’re happy that it fits into the tradition of top 25 finishes over the last 20 years. Clearly, we would have like to have finished a little bit better than that, but we’ll go home knowing we had a good season. When you get to this level, different things can happen. We probably had some tactical errors during the race that we can learn from. Hopefully we can come back next year and improve on that team finish.”

Sievert added his own insight on the team’s finish, and complimented his senior teammates who raced for the last time on Saturday.

“I thought the team did OK,” Sievert said. “Like coach said, we just didn’t get out hard and at this race, that really just costs you. But we did have a lot of great things. I think Beau Billings ran a (personal record) and Beau and Hayden were just great seniors this year. They were great leaders for the team and were a lot of fun to run with the last three years and everyone else. It was a great experience for the team and it will help some of us younger guys. And hopefully we can look on and build off this for next year.”

Billings finished his season with an exclamation point, placing second for the Bulldogs in 26:21. Not far behind was Hohnholt in 26:38, with sophomore Jordan Potrzeba, who after face planting at the half mile mark, was able to regain his footing and finish in 26:47. Junior Charlie Bloomfield was next in 26:52.

Sievert, a three-time all-conference place finisher, is an All-American for the first time in his cross country career.