Concordia women place second, men third at Hastings Invite

By Concordia University, Nebraska on Sep. 14, 2019 in Cross Country

HASTINGS, Neb. – A week after opening the 2019 season at the Augustana Twilight featuring more than 600 combined men’s and women’s competitors, the Concordia University cross country squads resumed action at the Hastings Bronco Stampede on Saturday (Sept. 14) morning. The Bulldog women made a push for a title and settled for second place among 11 teams. Meanwhile, the men placed third out of 10 squads present at Lake Hastings Park.

Through its first two meets, head coach Matt Beisel’s women’s team has not yet been beaten by an NAIA opponent. NCAA Division II Fort Hays State University (Kan.) swept men’s and women’s first-place claims in Hastings.

“This was a week we needed to work hard through,” Beisel said. “This is a really critical time for putting in some super hard work and I knew we would be fatigued stepping up to the starting line. What I wanted them to do is not worry about times and run as packs, which we have been practicing. They did exactly what I asked and ran very competitive races.”

This time around, a different freshman emerged as the top Concordia female runner. Rookie Kylahn Heritage clocked in at 19:41.82 (third place out of 118 runners) in the 5k race and was just six seconds behind meet champion Aileen Gurrola of Friends University (Kan.). The reigning GPAC Runner of the Week, freshman Amie Martin crossed the finish line in 20:15.44, putting her third among Bulldogs and in ninth place overall. Sandwiched in between the aforementioned freshmen was returning all-conference performer in senior Rebekah Hinrichs (19:54.94).

A week ago, each of Concordia’s top seven runners completed the faster 5k course in Sioux Falls, S.D., in under 20 minutes. The team’s four through seven competitors on Saturday were junior Lydia Cook (20:22.63; 12th), junior Sydney Clark (20:36.36; 17th), senior Miranda Rathjen (20:59.30; 27th) and sophomore Abi DeLoach (21:02.34; 28th). The top 10 Bulldog runners all placed in the top 34 of the overall leaderboard.

Fort Hays State was quite dominant on the men’s side, but Concordia did manage to place two of the top 25 out of the 94 runners that trekked along the 8k course. Fast rising junior Jordan Lorenz took the lead among Bulldogs by finishing in 28:20.09, 20th place overall. Only three NAIA competitors outran Lorenz. He was followed in the Concordia pack by freshman Camden Sesna (28:32.32; 25th), freshman Antonio Blaine (28:53.79; 31st), freshman Owen Dawson (29:07.63; 35th), sophomore Wyatt Lehr (29:35.01; 43rd), junior Patrick Schneeberger (29:42.68; 45th) and sophomore Ethan Pankow (29:43.34; 46th).

Concordia, Hastings and the College of Saint Mary women were the only GPAC schools present at the meet, which had representatives from the NAIA, NCAA Division II and the junior college levels. Said Beisel, “I felt really happy with where we were.”

The Bulldogs will have next week off from competition as they now look forward to the Dean White Invitational hosted by Doane on Saturday, Sept. 28. The race is set to begin at 10 a.m. CT in Crete. Three more meets remain on the schedule prior to the GPAC Championships on Nov. 9.