By Taylor Mueller, Athletic Communications Assistant
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sporting his blue and white uniform one last time, Ben Sievert’s storied cross country career came to a close at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan., as he competed in his fourth-straight national cross country meet. Sievert finished in 39th place overall with a time of 25:43.
Heading into the race, Sievert knew he would have to make his move early.
“Coach and I kind of talked a little before the race and we knew I’d have to get in good position early and just stay relaxed and hold it,” Sievert said. “I wanted to get in the top 20 to top 30 in the first mile, and then after the two-mile mark when it starts getting hillier is when I have to start moving. I probably didn’t move up in the race as much as I should have, and at the end, I was just trying to gut it out as much as I could.”
Sievert moved into 28th place with just 400 meters left in the race, but “didn’t have a lot left” as he slipped out of his All-American placing, which is awarded to the top 30 finishers.
“He had everything he needed,” head coach Kregg Einspahr said. “He got himself in good position, held the same place in the race and moved up in the last mile, but he just wasn’t able to hold on.”
Despite narrowly missing All-American status, Sievert remained humble and thankful for the opportunity that he had to make it to the national meet.
“I’m happy with it,” Sievert said of his final collegiate race. “I gave it my all today. It was disappointing to not be an All-American, but it was a blessing just to be here and to be running in this race.”
As Sievert moves on from Concordia cross country, he will not be easily forgotten by his coach and teammates.
“He had a great race, a great season and a great career,” Einspahr said. “He’s a model citizen, and I think the world of him. He is a great leader, a great teammate and we’re going to miss him. He’s been the heart and soul if this team. He brings the level of everybody up around him. I’m really going to miss him and I have been very fortunate to coach him.”
With his race and cross country career now in the rearview mirror, Sievert admitted that it will not likely sink in for a while that his cross country days are over.
“It’s hard to believe that after eight years of running, that I’m done,” Sievert said. “I’ll get four days off from running and then I’ll start getting ready for the indoor season. It’s hard to take a step back and realize that I’m done.”
As for the impact that he had on the Bulldog cross country program, Sievert explained what he hoped his teammates have taken away from his career.
“I don’t really care if they remember me for my running, my achievements or how I did in races,” Sievert said. “I just hope that my team saw me for working hard every day in practice and that I was running for God.”
Last season Sievert placed 19th at nationals in earning All-America honors as a junior. He also finished 51st as a sophomore and 207th as a freshman.