The men’s and women’s cross country squads both earned top-five finishes on Saturday. The Briar Cliff Invite ran especially fast for the women’s squad, and 12 Raiders posted their personal bests.
“The nature of the Briar Cliff course is that it is flat and fast, which (contributed) to the fast times,” junior Skyler Giddings said. “The conditions were beautiful. It was in the 50s with a mild breeze and a shining sun.”
The women finished fourth out of nine teams with 89 points.
Sophomore Kelley Thurman was the first Raider across the line in a personal best time of 19:01. She placed 10th. Senior Dawn Gildersleeve was the next competitor to finish and posted a time of 19:03. Junior Amber Sandbulte ran her personal best of 19:22 and earned 17th place.
Seniors Jackie Niewenhuis and Janet Pitsenberger both ran personal bests in 19:35. They finished 26th and 27th, respectively.
The men’s squad finished third with 94 points. It was still a few steps behind second-place Morningside, which scored 62 points.
Freshman Will Norris continued to progress as the top runner for NW. He posted a personal best of 26:10 and finished 15th. Juniors Skyler Giddings (16th) and Logan Hovland (17th) were stride-for-stride at the finish and both stopped the clock at 26:22.
“We have been running in packs to focus on sticking together and not giving up,” Giddings said.
Sophomores Kyle Anderson and Caleb VanderBaan were not far behind in 25th and 26th place. They finished in 26:44.
Senior Zach Wittenberg placed 27th in 26:46.