Weekend Roundup: Conference Championships Weekend (Part II)

It was another huge weekend across the collegiate cross country landscape.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZoneMeets This Weekend | Scoreboard

We’ll see Conference Championships Weekend at the NAIA and NCAA Division III levels.

Keep checking back as we update this post with results.

2020 Crossroads League Championships – Final Standings

Men’s Teams
Points
Women’s Teams
Points
No. 3 Huntington (Ind.)
40
No. 1 Taylor (Ind.)
50
No. 1 Taylor (Ind.)
49
No. 3 Huntington (Ind.)
53
No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan
101
No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan
100
NR Spring Arbor (Mich.)
126
No. 12 St. Francis (Ind.)
127
RV Grace (Ind.)
143
RV Grace (Ind.)
164

Men’s Race

Marion, Indiana, turned into Upset City on Friday afternoon.

Strong pack running sent No. 3 Huntington (Ind.) to the men’s team title at the 2020 Crossroads League Championships on the Indiana Wesleyan Cross Country Course. It was the Foresters’ first crown since 2011.

Huntington (Ind.) took down No. 1 Taylor (Ind.) thanks to putting its entire scoring lineup in the top-15 (four in the top-10): Adrien Gentie (third), Elijah Chesterman (sixth), Kent Yoder (ninth), Reece Gibson (10th) and Haile Stutzman (12th). That gave the Foresters 40 points, nine fewer than the eventual 49 for the Trojans.

Early on it looked like top-ranked Taylor (Ind.) might run away with the title after it had three runners in the top-5 – Daniel Gerber (second), Luke Rovenstine (fourth), Alex Helmuth (fifth) – but Huntington (Ind.) rallied with four finishers before their its closed things out.

Nelson Kemboi of Goshen (Iowa) captured the individual title in 25:04.9, nearly five seconds clear of Gerber. Kemboi hadn’t finished better than fifth in three other races this fall.

Women’s Race

It wasn’t easy. Nor was it pretty, but Taylor (Ind.) captured its eighth consecutive league title.

The top-ranked Trojans could only watch as their toughest challenger – third-ranked Huntington (Ind.) – jumped out to an early lead behind a 1-2 finish by Emma Wilson and Hannah Stoffel. Wilson crossed the finish line in 16:40.3, one full minute ahead of Stoffel.  More than 18 seconds elapsed before another athlete finished the 5K tract at Indiana Wesleyan.

Sarah Harden took third place in 17:59.1 to give Taylor (Ind.) its first finisher. Olivia Schroder wasn’t too far behind Harden to give the Trojans two finishers just like the Foresters, but work still had to be done since the score was 3-9. That’s when Taylor (Ind.)’s depth came through with three more runners to close out the scoring lineup before Huntington (Ind.) had a third – Corinne O’Leary (12th), Katelynn Hanback (14th) and Giovanna Domene (15th).

The Trojans finished with 50 points to the Foresters’ 53.

Seventh-ranked Indiana Wesleyan ended up third, followed by 12th-ranked St. Francis (Ind.) in fourth. RV Grace (Ind.) rounded out the top-5 on Friday afternoon.

2020 GPAC Championships

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Dordt (Iowa) entered the GPAC Championships with the two top-ranked programs in the conference and ran like champions on Saturday. Each of the Defenders’ teams cruised to titles at Fox Run Golf Course in Yankton, South Dakota.

We’ll start with the women’s race, because that’s where Dordt (Iowa) owned the No. 4 ranking in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll. The Defenders had no trouble dispatching a field that featured four other teams that were either ranked or received votes in Week 3. Dordt (Iowa) took four of the top-5 spots – led by a 1-2 finish by individual champion Taylor Anema and runner-up Eden Winslow – and outscored No. 16 Morningside (Iowa) by 67 points (27-94).

The men’s race was a bit closer as No. 6 Dordt (Iowa) only won by 21 points over No. 20 Northwestern (Iowa), 34-55. The Defenders were the only program with four athletes in the top-10 and put three more in the top-15, for good measure. Davis Tebben led Dordt (Iowa) with an individual runner-up finish behind champion Shawn Kiptoo of Doane (Neb.).

2020 A-R-C Championships

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Wartburg ruled all aspects of the 2020 American Rivers Conference Championships on Saturday at the Central College Cross Country Course in Pella, Iowa.

Joe Freiburger led a dominant effort by the Knights in the men’s race as he and his team capped undefeated seasons. Freiburger, locked in a pack with five other runners at the 3 mile split, dropped all but one of them by 5.8K and then surged ahead for good over the next half-mile. By the time the race ended, Freiburger won by nearly five seconds over teammate Dalton Martin in 25:38.5 and Wartburg would soon pack three other runners in the top-10 for a 27-point score.

Aubrey Fisher avenged her only loss of the season in the women’s race, taking down the previously undefeated Kassie Rosenum of Loras. As expected, Fisher, Rosenbum and Carina Collet of Wartburg all broke away from the field early and were 31 seconds clear of fourth place by the 2 mile split. One mile later, Fisher and Rosenbum left Collet to her own devices and battled over the final stretch. Eventually, it was Fisher who crossed the finish line nearly seven seconds ahead of Rosenbum in 21:56.9. Fisher and Collet were two of the five Knights who finished in the top-10 as their squad ended with 24 points, 66 fewer than runner-up Loras.

Weber State Invitational

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Weber State was just one runner away from a huge upset.

The Wildcats, who received votes in the most recent NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll, put four of the first six runners across the finish line in their dual meet against No. 2 BYU. Bronson Winter took runner-up honors, followed by Dallin Leatham (fourth), Taylor Dillon (fifth) and Christian Allen (sixth). While the Cougars had the individual champion in Casey Clinger and a third-place effort from Brandon Garnica, Weber State could ice the win if its fifth runner splintered a BYU pack.

That never happened, as the Cougars’ depth proved to be too much. BYU had six of the next nine finishers as it eked out a 28-29 win at the Round Valley Golf Course in Morgan, Utah. The Cougars ended up scoring 1-3-7-8-9, compared to the Wildcats’ 2-4-5-6-12.