Sports

Cross country teams end season at NCAA championship

The Cardinal cross country teams concluded their seasons at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships in Sacramento, California, on Nov. 23, taking home two All-American honors on the men’s side.

Sophomores CarLee Stimpfel and Dayton Brown were the only men to qualify for the national championships, with both earning All-American honors after finishing in the top 40 overall. Stimpfel finished 22nd overall, running a time of 30:19 for 10,000 meters. Brown finished 32nd in a time of 30:34.

“We really ran well all season,” Ryan Talbott said. “We consistently showed up for big meets and got the job done. Hopefully we can continue that on that track.”

In November, the men narrowly missed a large bid to the national meet as they finished fifth overall in the Midwest region. The women, finishing eighth in the region, earned the large bid despite the abundance of nationally-ranked teams that made the Midwest competitive this year.

The women’s team qualified for the national championship as a team. Sophomore Katelyn Spooner led the Cardinals as the top finisher for the first time this season, running a personal best time of 21:28 in the 6,000-meter race.

For the next cross country season, both the men’s and women’s teams have a lot to look forward to.

On the women’s side, five of the Cardinals’ top seven will be returning, including junior Morgan Fuerst, who led the team for the majority of the season. The women’s team will lose seniors Sydney Kreger, Kaitlyn Cavallo and Kinzie Sikkema.

The men’s team will return two All-Americans in Stimpfel and Brown, as well as six of their top seven from this year. Seniors Tellis Donajkowski, Nate Frasier, Austen Mandernach and Jordan Walters will not return next year.

Training has already resumed as normal following the NCAA championships.

The teams will now shift focus to indoor track, as SVSU hosts day one of the Holiday Open on Dec. 6.

With so many different event distances in indoor track, the majority of cross country athletes will focus on events more suited to their individual skill set once the track season starts.

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