No. 21 Concordia women start strong at season-opening Woody Greeno Invite

By on Sep. 19, 2015 in Cross Country

No. 21 Concordia women start strong at season-opening Woody Greeno Invite

By Taylor Mueller, Athletic Communications Student Assistant

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Concordia University cross country teams opened up their 2015 seasons on the hilly course at the annual Woody Greeno Invite in Lincoln, Neb. The women placed fourth out of 14 teams in the college division while the men finished in 13th among 15 teams in the college division.

It was an impressive day for the women who backed their 21st national ranking. Senior Kim Wood led the way for the Bulldogs with a 15th-place finish and a time of 23:42. Sophomore Jordyn Sturms was on her heals, placing 16th in 23:44. Sophomore Emily Sievert took 27th in 24:26 while junior Elizabeth Rasmussen and senior Megan Burma rounded out the top five in 24:53 and 25:10, respectively.

“I thought the women ran with some confidence,” head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “They got out well. We had a real good race from Kim Wood and Jordyn Sturms. We have a fairly young team considering that a number of our top six runners have only been running college cross country for a year prior to this season.  We have some really encouraging things there. We’ll get a lot better as the season goes along. Later on this season I think the 5K will be a little bit better for us. I’m very pleased with how the women did. They had a very good day today. It was a good start for us.”

It certainly was a break out performance for Sturms, a native of Denver, Colo. The sophomore came through with one of the best performances of her young career and showed significant promise for a bright season ahead of her.

“She was moving up through the race,” Einspahr said. “She’s a competitor, we saw that last year, especially towards the end of the season. We saw that at the conference meet. She does a nice job of knowing how to pace herself and moving up through the race. She’s got some really good physical tools to work with and will have a really great season ahead of her.”

The men’s squad struggled to put together a strong team performance, placing just one runner within the top 25. Senior Jordan Potrzeba placed 25th with a time of 27:05. Senior Taylor Mueller finished in 28:07. Freshmen Thomas Taylor and Evan Asche raced to times of 28:21 and 28:46, respectively, while junior Chris Shelton finished in 28:51 to complete the top five for Concordia.

Though it was not the start that any of the men’s team members were hoping for, Einspahr explained a few components that need sharpening and remained optimistic concerning what lies ahead for the men’s team.

“We’re trying to figure out what we are as a team,” Einspahr said. “We’ve got some young guys. We’ve got some guys being really good leaders with Taylor Mueller and Jordan Potrzeba. We need to get better as the season goes along. We had quite a few freshmen running in the race today in that top eight group. We’ll need to get better position earlier in the race later in the season if they’re going to do well at the conference meet. I think we’ll continue to improve and get a lot better. It’s kind of a young team right now. We have one or two guys who are coming off a little bit of a sickness. I was reasonably pleased with our start. It was real good competition today. We got something in to see where we’re at and we know what we need to work on.”

With three freshmen competing in the top eight, Einspahr explained that considering it to be their first collegiate race on an 8,000 meter course as opposed to a 5,000 meter course, the freshmen fared well.

“I think Thomas Taylor and Evan Asche did a really nice job hanging in there in the middle of the race where it gets tougher,” Einspahr said. “They’re accustomed to a 5k race and they had that extra 3k or almost two miles to the race. When you get past that 5k, sometimes freshmen tend to fade a little bit so I thought they did a really nice job of hanging in there and it was a good start for them. Cameron Moes has a lot of talent and a good future ahead of him. It’s just a lot of an adjustment coming from a smaller school. I’m optimistic that we’re going to get better as the season goes along.”

The Bulldogs will head to the Griak Invite in St. Paul, Minn., next Saturday (Sept. 26). The meet will feature another challenging course as Concordia will go up against numerous top-tier programs from across the country.