SEWARD, Neb. – Coming off a GPAC title in 2012, head coach Kregg Einspahr’s Concordia men’s cross country squad will begin the 2013 season ranked among the nation’s top 25. The Bulldogs checked in at No. 14 in the 2013 NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 poll, released on Wednesday.
The ranking comes on the heels of a 21st-place finish at the 2012 NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championships. Concordia earned an automatic bid to nationals last season thanks to winning the conference crown.
Einspahr’s team loses 2012 GPAC Men’s Runner of the Year Colin Morrissey, but there is no shortage of depth with most of last season’s top runners back in the fold. Senior Hayden Hohnholt of Saratoga, Wyo., and Junior Ben Sievert of Frankenmuth, Mich., figure to lead the way at the top of the heap for Concordia.
“I think they’ll provide great 1-2 front-running capability for us,” Einspahr said. “You’ve always got to have those frontrunners to be a very good team and we should with those two. The real question is how we are going to stack up from 3 through 6. That’s going to be the key for us to be a good team. We have personnel who can step up into those positions.”
The Bulldogs appear to be a strong contender for the GPAC title once again this season. The only other conference school ranked in the preseason poll was Morningside at No. 18.
Concordia begins its season on Saturday, Sept. 14 when it hosts the Concordia Short Course meet.