Cross country competes at regionals

Over the weekend, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in Evansville, Indiana for the 2019 DII Midwest Regional Championships. The men’s team finished fifth out of 32, and the women placed 8th out of 32.

Leading the men’s team was sophomore CarLee Stimpfel, who finished the race in second, the highest individual finish in recent history for either team. Stimpfel beat out rival Tanner Chada of Grand Valley, who won the GLIAC championships just two weeks ago.

“The course was less than ideal, but I went out there and pushed the pace and ended up in great position,” Stimpfel said.

Following Stimpfel was fellow sophomore Dayton Brown. Brown took fifth place overall and was third among GLIAC runners.

Both Stimpfel and Brown are guaranteed spots at the Division II national meet in Sacramento, California, on Monday, Nov. 23.

The Cardinals put another runner in the top 30, as junior Ryan Talbott finished in 27th place. Talbott was followed by Alex Grifka, who finished 59th, and Austie Mandernach, who finished 62nd.

“The course was pretty muddy, but it’s always a great time to get dirty with the boys,” Mandernach said.

In the women’s race, the Cardinals were led by junior Jenna Keiser, as she ran a lifetime best of 21:50 for six-kilometers. Keiser finished 29th overall and was followed by fellow junior Morgan Fuerst who finished 35th overall.

Finishing just a place behind Fuerst was sophomore Katelyn Spooner. Rounding out the top five for the Cardinals was senior Sydney Kreger who finished 41st, and Arianna Wegienka, 84th.

“Our regional had nine of the top 25 ranked teams in it so it was pretty competitive,” Fuerst said. “We didn’t end up placing as high as a team as we had hoped, but we are still hoping to get a bid for nationals. We ran strong and had five girls run a PR today.”

In Division II cross country, the top three teams at each of the eight regional championships automatically qualify for the National Championship. An additional 10 teams are selected based on rankings and race results throughout the season.

Decisions on what teams are selected for additional bids are released on Monday, Nov. 11, with the potential to see both the men’s and women’s team joining Stimpfel and Brown at the National Championships.

In the last U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association coach’s poll, the men were ranked 14th overall, while the women were ranked 18th.

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