Beisel-led Bulldogs make debut

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 17, 2016 in Cross Country

HASTINGS, Neb. – A new era of Concordia University cross country officially got started on Saturday at the Bronco Stampede hosted by Hastings College. The Bulldog men placed second among six teams while the women finished third out of seven squads. First-year head coach Matt Beisel took a total of 23 runners to the season-opening meet that featured a men’s 8K and women’s 5K.

Beisel expressed pride in how his runners responded to the first outing of 2016. The invite at Hastings came a week following the annual Blue-White alumni run.

“We are working through the most strenuous and taxing six weeks of training, both on the field and in the weight room,” Beisel said. “I told them that they would be fatigued and sore when they stepped up to the starting line today, and that they would all run very good races anyways. After the races were run and the finish line was crossed, my words became prophetic as almost every single one of our runners had huge season bests or all-time personal records.”

The men finished just two points out of first-place in a field that included several GPAC rivals as well as some junior colleges. Two Concordia men turned in top-five finishes amongst 56 total runners. Patrick Wortmann placed fourth in a time of 27:11.67 (personal best) and Kohlton Gabehart finished fifth by clocking in at 27:13.09. Thomas Taylor (27:47.12), Chris Shelton (28:00.88) and Evan Asche (28:03.40) were next in line for the Bulldogs, who traveled 13 men to Hastings.

The third-place Concordia women were two points behind the runner up at the meet. Returning all-conference and national qualifying performer Emily Sievert paced the Bulldogs with a time of 19:11.88, good for third place. Taylor Grove also notched a top-10 finish, clocking in at 20:00.59. In her first-ever collegiate cross country race, senior Marti Vlasin finished in 20:16.92 and placed 11th. A clear-cut top-six was established at the meet. Concordia’s Nos. 4, 5 and 6 runners were Abby Protzman (20:29.63), Rebekah Hinrichs (20:44.16) and Jacy Johnston (20:47.48).

In relation to GPAC competition, the men beat out Hastings and Mount Marty. The women bested Mount Marty and College of Saint Mary.

The Bulldogs will be at another meet hosted by a GPAC school next Saturday when they take part in the Dean White Invite staged by Doane University. The meet will get underway at 10 a.m.