In the chilly breeze of last Saturday morning, the Northwestern Cross Country team stepped up to the starting line at Spencer Park in Sioux Falls for the University of Sioux Falls Invite.
The women faced 5000 meters of competition with four other schools and 57 runners total. A Northern State runner, Kristin Peterson, took first with a time of 19:29. She was a minute ahead of NW’s first runner, senior Magdalene Biesanz, who placed 8th, running the course in 20:28.
Bringing in the rest of the women’s score was a tight pack of NW runners: junior Crystal Drury at 18th, senior Nancy Koskamp at 19th, junior Megan Quayle at 20th and freshman Carmen Moss at 21st. The team score of 77 placed the women at a strong third, beating Northern State at 103 and Mount Marty at 108. USF won the meet with a score of 36, followed by Dordt, at 41.
Coach Dale Thompson saw the women’s team working well together during the race.
“Magdalene again had a good race for the women, and Nancy did a good job pulling the pack along. It was nice to see that group of middle runners come together in the finish,” he said.
For the men, the course involved 4.8 miles of racing against six other teams and a total of 64 runners. Anthony Aker, a runner from USF, was the overall winner, running a time of 25:57.
Freshmen Michael Vermeer and Joel Watters led the men’s team, Vermeer placing 29th with a time of 28:43 and Watters following close behind at 28:36, earning him a 32nd place finish.
Rounding out the men’s score were senior Jeff Petersen who took 43rd, sophomore Kevin Ulmer with 48th and junior David Bleeker who placed 50th. The men’s final score of 160 placed them seventh, following USF, who won the meet with 39 points, Dakota Wesleyan with 62, Northern State with 73, Dordt with 90, Dana with 117 and Mount Marty with 155.
Coach Thompson commended Vermeer and Watters for stepping up to lead the team, noting that Petersen has been fighting a cold which took him back in the race.
Thompson says that the team can work forward from this meet into future races. “The men need to keep moving the scoring pack up into the race to place higher at the meets,” he said.
The cross country team next competes on Oct. 4 at the Briar Cliff Invitational, held at the McCook Lake Nature Preserve, SD. Races begin at 10 a.m.