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Warriors claim eighth in NAIA Seminole Valley Stampede

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy: Waldorf Sports Information Director

CEDAR RAPIDS – Facing three ranked opponents, the Waldorf University men’s cross country team fought to an eighth-place finish during Saturday’s National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Seminole Valley Stampede.

It marked the first meet of the season for the Warriors where they’ve faced solely NAIA teams.

“The biggest thing for us is we’re a good team at racing small meets,” Waldorf coach Nathan Christianson said. “We needed to get some better NAIA competition. We’ve raced NAIA competition, but it’s been mixed with other divisions, and it was a good challenge for us to see where we matched up against some pretty good schools.”

Nic Ganzeveld led the Warriors as he charged to 19th place with a time of 25 minutes, 56 seconds on the 8K course at Seminole Valley Park. The junior from Fort Dodge broke his own school-record time by 12 seconds.

“I was pretty happy with Nic,” Christianson said. “We’ve got some big goals at the end of the season, and we’re just trying to keep pushing him more and more.”

Ganzeveld, who has been honored as the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Runner of the Week twice this season, has continually progressed throughout the year. He held his own against competitors from ranked teams, which helps him prepare for the NSAA Championships and ultimately punching his ticket to the NAIA National Championships next month.

“He knows that he’s got some work to do now, but it’s a good step in the right direction,” Christianson said. “I wanted him to know he can run with these guys. I think in four weeks, he’s going to be a lot better, and I think it was a good eye-opening experience for him. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do the next two meets.”

Waldorf junior Marquis Cox chased down 42nd (26:36) while running the third-fastest time in school history and improving by 36 seconds on his personal-record time.

The Warriors posted six PRs and turned in five of the 10 fastest times in school history.

“I’m pretty happy,” Christianson said. “We had some PRs and are still focusing on nationals and conference. We’ve got some bigger goals in the next few weeks.”

Senior Nathan Meiners secured 52nd (26:51) en route to the fifth-fastest time in Waldorf school history, missing his PR by just one second.

Aaron Ward claimed 57th (26:57) for the Warriors as the senior from State Center ran the sixth-fastest time in program history and erased 29 seconds from his personal-record time.

“Aaron is just getting better each week,” Christianson said. “I think he’s going to be huge for us at conference. I’m just so proud of him for buying in and getting better each week.”

Andrew Murley raced to 69th (27:11) to deliver Waldorf’s final team score. The freshman from Sac City posted the 10th-fastest time in school history, the third-fastest time by a Waldorf freshman and finished just one second behind his PR.

Senior Ovan Garcia took 101st (27:57) for the Warriors, demolishing his PR by 3:07. Junior Chasen Selsor pulled in 106th (29:47) to shatter his PR by 2:35.

Waldorf senior Cassidy Warson crossed the finish line in 185th (30:10) to break his PR by 26 seconds. Sophomore Jesse Vega ran to 204th (30:53), sophomore Mark Ahlers placed 206th (31:09), sophomore Alden Zeller closed out the meet in 239th (36:22) and senior Adam Brinkman finished 242nd (36:58).

The Warriors recorded a team score of 239 points in the meet where they had an opportunity to make a push.

“We kind of had some high expectations,” Christianson said. “I figured we would be anywhere from fourth through eighth, but I thought there was a chance we might get second or third.”

The University of St. Francis, ranked No. 2 in the latest NAIA poll, ran away with the team championship with 44 points while No. 21 Indiana Tech (108) earned second. Thirteenth-ranked University of Saint Mary (126) grabbed third to place ahead of Columbia College (150), which is receiving votes in the national poll. Mount Mercy University (214) took fifth while Baker University (229), Kansas Wesleyan University (235), Waldorf (239), Doane University (263) and Judson University (279) rounded out the top 10 of the 25-team field.

The Warriors return to action on Nov. 5 in the NSAA Championships, beginning at 11 a.m. at Dickinson, North Dakota. Dickinson State University is the defending NSAA champion, and Waldorf looks to challenge the Blue Hawks for the conference crown.

“Dickinson State is definitely going to be coming for us, and I think it’s going to be a nice matchup,” Christianson said.

Already gauging the competition, the Warriors know what it’ll take to bring home the conference title and advance to the NAIA National Championships on Nov. 19 at Elsah, Illinois.

“Going to conference, you’re going to know who you’ve got to beat,” Christianson said. “It’s going to be the first time all season where the kids are going to know who they’re racing against, and I think that’s going to be good for them.”