The Northwestern cross country team kicked off their season with two back-to-back Friday night meets at Augustana and South Dakota State University, respectively. Friday, Sept. 6, the men’s and women’s teams competed at the Augie Twilight Invite in Sioux Falls. Both competed well, beating several GPAC and NAIA schools in the field.
Junior Dylan Hendricks led the NW men’s team, placing 35th overall out of 321 athletes. He was followed by junior Josh Starr , freshman Jakob VanDerWerff, senior Ben Aberson and sophmore Hayden Lee to round out the top five scorers for the team.
Senior Bre Harthoorn led the women to finish 11th overall as a team against tough competition. Teammates junior Hunter Koepke, senior Kelsey Lang, junior Anna Teigland and senior Emma VanMeeteren complete the top five NW scorers. These runners packed closely together through the race and competed well as a unit, with some achieving all-time best race times.
The following Friday night, NW ran again in Brookings, South Dakota at the SDSU Cross Country Classic. NW ran on a new course and competed against large NCAA schools. Conditions were tougher than usual, as the course was wet and there was standing water in several places. The runners had to splash through large puddles and work up hills. The Raiders competed well even when the conditions were not in their favor.
For the men’s team, junior Dylan Hendricks once again led the team. Freshman Along with Hendricks, Eric Heibult, freshman Jakob VanDerWerff, sophmore Peyton Brasser and sophmore Levi Cross were the top five finishers. This year’s team boasts many talented young runners.
On the women’s side, freshman Anessa School led the team and was followed by junior Hunter Koepke , senior Kelsey Lang, junior Anna Teigland and freshman Micah Van Kalsbeek to complete the women’s top five scorers.
Much of the Raider success this season can be attributed to the great support they have had from their coaches, family, friends and fellow students. Their season’s training began almost six weeks ago in the Black Hills.
Matt Aguilar, a student on campus who loves Raider athletics, has been to both of the cross country meets this season. He shared, “Being a Raider means encouraging students to strive for the best and be their best; each student has the potential to do better than their last performance and their hard work achieves that goal.”
He has gotten to know many members of the team over the past several years and states, “I’m proud of this team, not for the reason of winning or losing a meet, but because of their commitment to pushing each other to run their best and achieving new personal records.”
The NW cross country team will compete in the Deane White Invitational in Crete, Nebraska this Saturday, the 28th. The women compete at 10 a.m. and the men compete at 10:45 a.m.