The Concordia University cross country squads opened the 2011 season in style at the Nike Heartland Invite on Saturday in Sioux Falls. Both Bulldog teams took first place in the event, and several individuals opened the year with strong performances for Concordia.
The Bulldog men finished first out of six teams. Mount Marty, Doane College, The University of Sioux Falls, Northwestern College and Iowa Lakes Community College joined Concordia at the Invite. The Bulldogs finished with a score of 24, well ahead of second place Mount Marty (69).
Concordia placed five runners in the top 11 overall. Colin Morrissey (Omaha, Neb.) finished first with a time of 25:33.89 and was over 30 seconds ahead of Derek Schnell of Doane, who finished second in the race. Hayden Hohnholt (Saratoga, Wyo.) was fourth at 26:11.29. Beau Billings (Valentine, Neb.) and Adam Prahlow (St. Louis, Mo.) finished eighth and ninth, respectively, while Creighton Pearse (Kearney, Neb.) came in 11th.
“It was a great start for our men’s team today,” remarked head coach Kregg Einspahr. “I think Creighton Pearse may have been the story of the day for our team. It was his first-ever cross country race, and he performed very well. To have five guys finish in the top 11 is a great way to open the season.”
On the women’s side, Concordia finished with a score of 41. Doane College was second at 59. The Bulldogs placed four runners in the top 15 overall, and Sarah Kortze (Rockford, Ill.) came in second overall with a time of 18:18.30. Jena Schwalenberg (Columbus, Neb.) and Martha Meineke (Denver, Colo.) finished fifth and sixth with times of 19:18.23 and 19:26.61, respectively. Anna Meyer (Seward, Neb.) came in 15th at 20:21.56.
“Our women performed well today, but there was a significant drop off between our third and fourth runners,” noted Einspahr. “We have a lot of young kids, but I think our athletes on both teams will continue to improve and get used to the distances as the season goes on.”
Concordia travels to the Woody Greeno Invite in Lincoln on September 17.