Pages Navigation Menu

Delivering News From The Source

Waldorf’s Meiners, Ramirez-Paez chase down school history

By Matt Oliver

CEDAR RAPIDS – Waldorf College men’s cross country runners Nathan Meiners and Luis Ramirez-Paez rewrote the school record books in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Seminole Valley Stampede on Saturday.

“Nathan and Luis both came into this meet with their sights set on running the fastest time in school history,” Waldorf associate head coach Corey Bins said. “We talked about how they needed to approach the race and where they needed to be at each mile marker and they executed the game plan perfectly that led to both of them breaking the Waldorf school record.”

Meiners battled to 52nd place as the junior from Omaha, Neb. turned in an 8K time of 27 minutes, 4 seconds. Ramirez-Paez, a freshman from San Antonio, claimed 57th (27:09). Both runners eclipsed the previous school record time of 27:15, which was set by Alejandro Sanchez in 2012.

“Nathan and Luis had wonderful performances,” Waldorf head coach Kelsey Riggins said. “I am very proud of these two young men and Coach Bins for the work they have put in this fall.”

Delivering a solid 1-2 punch or the Warriors, Meiners and Ramirez-Paez attacked the course from the get-go.

“They were aggressive at the start of the race, moved into position where they needed to be and showed a lot of toughness through the middle part of the race as they ran very consistent splits, which is something I have stressed to the whole team,” Bins said. “Nathan and Luis have pushed each other to get better every day of the season and I couldn’t be more proud of them. Their hard work is paying off when it matters most.”

Waldorf junior Aaron Ward crossed the finish line in 90th (28:47), freshman Mark Ahlers took 95th (28:53) and junior Cassidy Warson placed 119th (30:49) to contribute the final team score. Freshman Jesse Vega came in 124th (31:19) and freshman Alden Zeller ended the race in 133rd (33:13) to help the Warriors make a push in the team standings.

“Cassidy, Jesse and Alden stepped up big time for us,” Riggins said. “They ran great races and chased down some points for us.”

Contributions from Warson, Vega and Zeller allowed Waldorf to pick up points to edge North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) foe Viterbo University by one point. It was a strong team effort from the Warriors, who were running without senior Cody Clark, junior Ovan Garcia and freshman Eithan Esensee due to illness and injuries.

“It was a huge day for our program,” Riggins said. “Not only did we beat the No. 2 rated team in our conference, but we did it missing two athletes that typically score for us. It was a great confidence booster going into the NSAA meet.”

Waldorf senior Adam Brinkman ran to 171st (33:17) and freshman Jimmy Blankenship finished 175th (34:20). Seven of the nine runners for the Warriors recorded their fastest times of the season.

“I set a goal for the team to have an average improvement of 20 seconds from last week and the guys achieved that goal easily with an average improvement of over 25 seconds,” Bins said. “They were outstanding.”

The Warriors placed 16th, turning in a team score of 413 in the 21-team race.

“We finished ahead of some solid teams out there and it was nice to edge our conference foe Viterbo by one point, but we have to be ready for them when it really counts in two weeks,” Bins said.

The University of St. Mary, ranked No. 11 in the latest NAIA poll, won the team championship with 45 points to defeat No. 4 University of St. Francis (68) by 23 points. Third place went to No. 21 Columbia College (95), which placed ahead of St. Xavier University (163), No. 14 Texas Wesleyan University (170), Kansas Wesleyan University (192), Mount Mercy University (238), Lindenwood University-Belleville (240), Trinity Christian College (258), St. Ambrose University (264), Baker University (266), Judson University (300), Central Methodist University (304), William Penn University (407), Calumet College of St. Joseph (411), Waldorf (413), Viterbo (414), Grand View University (479), Cardinal Stritch University (499), Clarke University (517) and Graceland University (554).

Cardinal Stritch’s Daniel Garcia raced to first place with a time of 25:00, slipping past St. Xavier’s Abel Hernandez by one second.

Waldorf now has two weeks to prepare for the NSAA Championships on Nov. 7 at Madison, S.D., where the Warriors will have a chance to punch their ticket to the NAIA National Championships.

“Most of the work is done and now it’s time to focus on the NSAA meet,” Bins said. “This is the one we have been building toward all season long and where we want to be at our best. I know the guys can’t wait to toe the line and race for a chance to qualify for the national meet. It is a very exciting opportunity for our program.”