Bulldogs take positives from Briar Cliff Invite

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 5, 2019 in Cross Country

NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. – Strange circumstances characterized the women’s race at the Briar Cliff Invite held at Adams Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, S.D., on Saturday (Oct. 5) morning. There were no official team results on the women’s side due to a large group of runners making a wrong turn. On the men’s side, Concordia University placed sixth out of 14 teams.

It was difficult for head coach Matt Beisel’s women’s team to know what to make of the final results. However, the Bulldogs are not expected to be effected in the national rankings. The Concordia women’s team is currently No. 17 in the NAIA poll.

“I think the biggest thing is that the girls know from all the discussion we had is that they ran really well,” Beisel said. “We just don’t have any hard data to support it. The goal was for us to go out and hang with South Dakota State as long as we could. Even with some of our girls running extra and having to jump into the race, they all ran under 21 minutes.”

Somewhere around two miles into the women’s race, some confusion took place that led to a pack of runners veering off the course. Eventually the mistake was learned by the group of runners, some of whom ran a considerably greater distance than the normal 5k. Officially, freshman Bailie Vanarsdall turned in the top time among Bulldogs by clocking a personal best of 19:52.13 (ninth overall out of 130 runners). Erin Lindeman put together a strong race and finished in 20:13.06 (29th). Said Beisel, “That’s good depth right there. There was some initial anger, but I’m not a guy to focus on the negatives. A number of girls came to me afterwards and were like, ‘Okay, I think we’re ready to go.’”

According to Beisel’s calculations, freshman Kylahn Heritage would have been the team’s top finisher if not for the mishap. Heritage wound up finishing in 20:16.40 (34th). She was just behind Sydney Clark (20:13.47; 31st) and Lydia Cook (20:14.10; 32nd). Eight additional Bulldogs completed the 5k in under 21 minutes. Reigning GPAC Runner of the Week Rebekah Hinrichs cross the finish line in 20:22.36 (40th).

Fortunately, there were no snafus in the men’s race. By placing sixth, the Bulldogs beat out conference rivals in Hastings (ninth), Mount Marty (12th), Dakota Wesleyan (13th) and Briar Cliff (14th). Once again, junior Jordan Lorenz led the way. He placed 23rd (out of 140 runners) while clocking in at 26:44.80. The rest of the top five included Wyatt Lehr (26:47.91; 26th), Camden Sesna (27:25.67; 46th), Antonio Blaine (28:01.50; 61st) and Ethan Pankow (28:30.45; 74th).

Now Beisel hopes to see his men’s team decrease the gap within that top five-to-seven runners. Said Beisel, “The spread between our No. 1 and our No. 7 needs to really close up. I don’t think it was a perfect race on the guys’ side, but we all made improvements. There were some big improvements with Jordan running under 27 for the first time. That whole top seven needs to continue to develop and come closer together.”

The Bulldogs will go three weeks before resuming the 2019 season with the Mount Marty Invite on Oct. 26. The meet will be held at Fox Run Golf Course in Yankton, S.D.