Men claim title at Bronco Stampede, women place second

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 15, 2018 in Cross Country

HASTINGS, Neb. – It was a confidence building Saturday for the Concordia University cross country teams. In their first action since the season opening Augustana Twilight on Aug. 31, the Bulldog men captured first place, outrunning the field of six teams at the Bronco Stampede at Lake Hastings Park in Hastings, Neb. On the women’s side, Concordia placed second amongst the six squads in competition.

Third-year head coach Matt Beisel’s teams were paced by seniors Taylor Grove (fourth place) and Josiah McAllister (fourth place) on a humid morning.

Said Beisel, “We told our kids going in that we only care about two things: running as a pack and competing hard against anyone who’s not wearing our uniform. That’s what they did really well. The times were slower because of the hot conditions, but our guys and girls toughed it out. Our girls were within striking distance of Hastings. I was really pleased with the way our teams followed through on the plan we had. It turned out in our favor.”

McAllister and company are out to prove that they are more than just the seventh-ranked team in the GPAC, as they appeared in the first official conference poll of 2018. They may have raised some eyebrows on Saturday by defeating conference favorite and 23rd-nationally ranked Doane, which placed as the GPAC runner up in 2017. The Tigers did boast the men’s individual champion at the Bronco Stampede, but the Bulldogs won the team race with exceptional balance. Concordia had three of the top eight and six of the top 19 finishers.

Following McAllister, who clocked in at 27:52.79 on the 8k course, were freshman Wyatt Lehr (27:53.58; fifth), senior Thomas Taylor (28:16.13; eighth), sophomore Christian Van Cleave (28:40.93; 12th), senior Evan Asche (29:05.90; 17th), sophomore Jordan Lorenz (29:30.67; 19th), freshman Ethan Pankow (30:02.84; 27th) and sophomore Patrick Schneeberger (30:13.53; 29th). Collectively, they helped the Bulldogs also top NAIA opponents in Hastings, York College and Bellevue University.

For the second meet in a row, Grove is the frontrunner for the women. Only host Hastings bested Concordia, which defeated Doane, York, Peru State College and Bellevue. Grove checked in at 20:40.32 in the 5k stampede. The rest of the top seven for the Bulldogs featured freshman Abi DeLoach (20:43.74; fifth), juniors Rebekah Hinrichs (20:54.11; seventh) and Miranda Rathjen (21:16.33; ninth), sophomore Lydia Cook (21:23.12; 11th), senior Jacy Johnston (21:32.91; 12th) and sophomore Sydney Clark (21:41.39; 14th). The Bulldogs put 10 runners inside the top 19 out of a field of 79 runners.

“Competitively and toughness-wise, this was a great meet for us,” Biesel said. “Our guys and girls both went out in big packs. They went out conservatively on the first mile and packed it in really well. It was pretty fun to have our guys come back and ring the victory bell. That’s our first win at a cross country meet since I’ve been here. It felt pretty sweet and I’m looking forward to more.”

The season will continue next week with the Dean White Invite hosted by Doane next Saturday (Sept. 22). The meet is slated to get underway at 10 a.m. CT.