After a long wait, our Red Raider Cross Country team was ready to take on the national’s course. Like the football and volleyball teams, nationals were not during the fall as they usually are. Thanks to COVID-19, athletes had to continue to train during the off season for the national’s race that took place last Friday, April 9.
“It was very challenging training for cross country and track at the same time.”Head Coach Scott Bahrke said.” Coach Carrie Krohn did a wonderful job of working with each member of our nationals crew.”
However, the long time in between season and nationals just made the athletes want it more. They were able to use the indoor and one meet of the outdoor track season to help prepare for the journey they were about to take for nationals. This past weekend, Northwestern had nine athletes head to Cedar Rapids, Iowa and run the Seminole Valley Cross Country course.
One Raider, senior Dylan Hendricks, earned All-American honors as he came across the finish line in 25th place. In addition to that amazing feat, three other Raiders finished with personal bests: sophomores Jackob Van Der Werff and Ian Wiersma, seniors Riley Chartier, Joshua Van Dusseldorp and Nick Bernhagen, and junior Levi Cross also represented the Red Raider men this past week. NW finished 21 out the of 37 teams for the men.
For the women, the Raiders had two representatives. Senior Autumn Muilenberg made it to nationals. Seniors Anna Hiebner and Hunter Koepke took on the 5K course and both finished with their second-fastest times of their careers. They placed 56th and 83rd, respectively, out of the 300 plus participants.
All nine athletes represented the red and black colors they wore and definitely stood out as a program.
“Everyone left it out on the course and had no regrets,” Barhke said, “It might have been difficult to not run in the fall, but it was still rewarding to be able to claim a spot at nationals at all.”