By Taylor Mueller, Sports Information Assistant
McCOOK LAKE, S.D. – Competing in low 30 degree weather couldn’t slow the 19th-ranked Concordia Bulldog men’s and women’s cross country teams as they traveled to McCook Lake, S.D., to compete in the Briar Cliff Invitational. The men finished third out of 14 teams, while the women concluded the meet in fourth place amongst the 16-team field.
Leading the way to a third place overall finish for the women was senior Sarah Kortze who raced to a second place finish with a time of 17:48 on the 5K course. Not far behind her was senior Jena Schwalenberg who earned a fifth place finish with a time of 18:13. Other Bulldogs performing well was freshman Megan Burma with a time of 19:16, sophomore Erika Schroeder in 19:26.45 and freshman Kim Wood in 19:26.70.
“I thought we ran well,” coach Kregg Einspahr said. “There was a big gap between our number two and three, four and five runners again. Our younger runners are continuing to improve and have had some good races, but we have some work to do if we are going to be a top team in the conference. Our three, four, five, six and seven runners are young and some have never even ran cross country before. But they are continuing to improve and that’s a big positive.”
The men finished with a strong performance of their own.
Running to a third place finish was sophomore Ben Sievert, who came in at 25:14, and helped pave the way for a third place overall finish by the team. Junior Hayden Hohnholt placed 11th overall with a time of 25:46 followed closely by senior Collin Morrissey who made his season debut with a time of 26:00. Other Bulldogs scoring points was freshman Jordan Potrzeba in 26:08 and junior Beau Billings in 26:12.
“It was the best race of the season,” Einspahr said. “We did a better job at closing the gap between our three, four and five runners. I thought that Collin, Jordan and Adam did a really good job today. Having Collin back helped immensely in the team finish. Prahlow is also back and is getting healthy. We have to continue to get better and we are getting better. There are a lot of lessons to take away from today and there are some things to improve on.”
The Bulldogs begin the second half of their season with a trip to Yankton, SD on Oct. 20 to compete in the Mt. Marty Invite to be held at the Regional Center.