Cross country can’t be stopped

The Northwestern men and women put on a show at the cross country course in Hastings, Neb. this past weekend. The weather was beautiful, and both teams had outstanding performances.  The entire men’s team and junior Katie Bosch of the women’s team advanced to the NAIA National championship.

Whether a runner, coach or fan, every Raider on the course had their blood pumping during race time. The races logged on the course were some of the fastest of the season, on both teams.

On the men’s side, there were nine personal best times, and one performance only a second off a personal best. Senior Will Norris won the GPAC individual title and re-broke the school record with a time of 24:35 in his 8k race. The men had five scoring runners in the top 10, with their 6th runner right behind in the 11th spot.

Junior Tanner Goetsch placed 6th in the conference, with juniors Peter Smith, Tim Rose, Hans Epp and Ryan Bauermeister following in the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th spots. The rest of the team was across the line soon after.

It was a memorable sight to see all the red crossing the finish line one after another, and it really spoke to the strength of the men’s team. Sophomore Caleb Benzing, the 7th runner to finish on Saturday, is well aware of the strength of the team he is a part of.

“This is the most dominant team NW cross country has ever seen, and it’s all due to depth,” Benzing said. “Placing all 10 runners amongst the 5th, 6th and 7th runners of the rest of the field is just as much of a statement as is Will’s dominance out front.”

The men’s team took first place in the GPAC, the first time in school history a cross country team has won a conference title.

For the women, a lot of personal bests were also seen.  They placed 5th as a team in the conference.

Katie Bosch recorded a personal best 5k with 18:17, placing 6th individually.  Sarah Lunn finished next for the Raider women, with a personal best of 18:43.  Junior Krista Hovland also ran a season best,and was pleased with the way the morning turned out.

“Saturday was a great day for the women’s team,” Hovland said. “We had several girls run PR’s, and met our goal of being 5th in the conference. It’s always satisfying to see a season’s worth of hard work pay off.”

The ladies are very excited with the way the team performed, and are excited to come back next year with the same team and become even stronger.

The Red Raider cross country teams left the course very satisfied this past Saturday.  Sophomore Peter Hollinger summed up the great end to the season.

“It was so fun to run the final regular season race with an awesome team,” Hollinger said. “We worked hard for what we wanted this season, and I think everyone enjoyed bonding with each other on the way.”

Alongside of all of the honors the team has won, Norris has been steadily accruing individual accolades as the season carries on.

Norris picked up GPAC Runner of the Week during the first, sixth and eighth week of the season. On top of these awards, Norris was the overall NAIA Runner of the Week for week one, and was also named GPAC Runner of the Year following the conference meet.

The NW men's cross country team poses with the banner they received for winning the GPAC Conference, the highest the team has placed in program history.