SEWARD, Neb. – After a long three-week lay-off, the Concordia Bulldogs Cross Country teams are back in action this Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Mount Marty Invitational. The meet will be held at Fox Run Golf Course in Yankton, S.D. This marks the second consecutive year the Bulldogs have competed in the event.
Despite the three-week lay-off, Head Coach Matt Beisel has ensured his squads have remained ready by implementing ten-day training cycles. The training is structured so the Bulldogs will be at their best for the GPAC Championships.
“The break allowed us to put serious and critical training that gave us time to recover from so that we can be at our prime when the GPAC Championships come,” Beisel said. “I did not mind having the extra time where we could do a ten-day training cycle that pushed them really hard one last time with another ten days to recover.”
The meet will be a preview of the GPAC Championships as all GPAC members will be competing in the event. In addition to a similar field, the GPAC Championships are also held at Fox Run Golf Course. The women’s 5k race will get underway at noon, with the men’s 8k race following at 12:45 p.m. CT.
The Bulldogs are hoping to make a strong impression among all GPAC teams this weekend.
“The Biggest goal here is to go in and make an impact statement that will signal what people will look forward to in two weeks,” Beisel stated.
The Concordia men’s squad enters the meet coming off a sixth-place finish at the Briar Cliff Invitational back on Oct. 3.
During the meet, sophomore Camden Sesna recorded a new personal best, finishing in 38th with a time of 26:04.63. Senior Jordan Lorenz followed Sesna with a pace of 26:28.82, good for 52nd overall. Other Bulldogs who were among the team’s top runners were freshman Calvin Rohde and the sophomore duo of Antonio Blaine and Owen Dawson.
The Concordia men may not be at full strength during the men’s race as they have been dealing with minor injury issues as of late. However, they are expected to be back at full strength for the conference championships.
“We have a couple of our guys dealing with injury issues who may not be at full strength,” stated Beisel. “The goal most importantly to have them ready for conference. They are not able to run this weekend, it will affect our team's scores and I think they are going to be fine for conference for sure.”
Despite injuries, the Concordia men are looking forward to making an impact this weekend. Beisel believes they can show the rest of the GPAC that they are major contenders.
“Our guys can show that they are potentially a top-three team,” Beisel stated.
The Bulldog women are no strangers to success at the Mount Marty Invitational as they took home the team title in 2019.
The Concordia women enter the meet following a runner-up performance at the Briar Cliff Invitational. Sophomore Kylahn Heritage once again led the Bulldogs as she clocked a time of 18:32.60 to finish in 18th place. Freshman Rylee Haecker had an impressive debut as she finished in 22nd with a time of 18:43.22. Other Bulldogs finishing in the Top-25 included freshman Grace Reiman (22nd) and senior Lydia Cook (25th).
Heritage and senior Alyssa Fye both were significant factors in the Bulldogs victory at last year’s Mount Marty Invitational, as Heritage jetted to a second-place finish with a time of 19:09.50 while Fye finished in seventh with a pace of 19:18.11.
The women’s squad was competing shorthanded due to injuries at the beginning of the season but is now back to full strength.
“It is important that our women solidify their place as a top-two team in the conference,” Beisel said. “It is going to be a challenge, though, because there are a couple of other teams that are very good.”
Both Bulldog squads are eager to hit the ground running this weekend.
“Our athletes are mentally and physically ready for an exceptional effort this weekend,” stated Beisel. “The likelihood of us achieving our goals is very high.”
After completing their races at Mount Marty, the Bulldogs will finish their fall slate by returning to Yankton, S.D., to compete for the GPAC Championship on Nov. 7, at 10:45 a.m. CT.