Defending GPAC champs receive votes in initial NAIA poll

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 1, 2020 in Cross Country

NAIA Release

SEWARD, Neb. – In the first NAIA national poll for any sport released this fall, the Concordia University Women’s Cross Country team garnered mention among teams receiving votes. The NAIA unveiled what was declared a “preseason” top 25 poll on Thursday (Oct. 1). The Bulldogs picked up 70 points and were listed fifth in the “receiving votes” category.

Head Coach Matt Beisel’s cross country squads have competed in three meets to date, including the Dordt Sunflower Opener (Sept. 5), the Hastings Bronco Stampede (Sept. 12) and Doane’s Dean White Invite (Sept. 26). Earlier in the week, official GPAC ratings (published on showed the Concordia women at No. 3 in the GPAC and the men at No. 4. The men did not generate votes in the national poll.

Led by Kylahn Heritage (GPAC runner up), the Bulldog women celebrated a 2019 GPAC title and went on to place 12th at the NAIA national championships. Concordia is still trying to work its way back to that form. The Bulldogs slot in at third in the conference poll in large part because they placed behind Dordt and Morningside at the season opening Sunflower Opener. In Thursday’s new rankings, Dordt polled at No. 6 in the NAIA while Morningside checked in at 18th.

On the men’s side, Dordt is now ranked 12th nationally while Doane is the first team outside of the top 25 and listed under receiving votes. Concordia beat out Doane for the meet championship at the Bronco Stampede. However, the Tigers won their own Dean White Invite last week when the Bulldogs placed as the runner up.

New NAIA cross country polls are also slated to be released on Oct. 29 and Nov. 19. The national championship meet will be held April 9, 2021, at Seminole Valley Cross Country Course in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Upcoming meets for Concordia include the Briar Cliff Invite (Oct. 3), Mount Marty Invite (Oct. 24) and the GPAC Championships (Nov. 7).