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Warriors win Fighting Bee Invitational, rewrite record books

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy: Waldorf Sports Information Director

BETTENDORF – The Waldorf University men’s cross country team won Saturday’s Fighting Bee Invitational after closing out the day with a team score of 70 points.

Waldorf beat out Davenport University by three points to earn its second meet title in program history. The Warriors also won the 4th Annual Viterbo Night Flight in La Crosse, Wisconsin to begin the season.

“We went in thinking we might have a shot to win,” Waldorf coach Nathan Christianson said. “It was three or four teams battling it out and at the end, it was us and Davenport. The kids hung on at the end and did a good job. I’m pretty excited about that.”

Nic Ganzeveld captured a second-place finish, completing the 8K course at Crow Creek Park in 26 minutes, 8 seconds. The junior from Fort Dodge smashed the 8K school record set by Nathan Meiners in 2015, making a 56-second improvement.

“He went from the gun,” Christianson said. “I’m very happy with that performance. Hopefully, in two weeks we can get him to 25 minutes and try to set him up for nationals. We’ve still got a lot of time to train, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Meiners also knocked off his record-setting time. The senior from Omaha, Nebraska crossed the finish line seventh (26:50) and locked up the second-fastest 8K time in school history. Adapting to Christianson’s training regimen played a role in an 87-second season personal record for Meiners.

“He looked really strong for the first time, and there’s going to be more of that,” Christianson said.

Andrew Murley turned in a 16th-place finish (27:10). The Sac City native clocked the second-quickest 8K time in program history by a freshman, only trailing Luis Ramirez-Paez’s 2015 time by one second.

“He had a pretty good race on his birthday, so I can’t complain,” Christianson said. “He’s still learning and getting stronger.”

As a freshman, Murley is taking advantage of the insight from Meiners as a senior and returning National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national qualifier.

“Nathan’s doing a good job as a senior, kind of pushing him a little bit,” Christianson said. “Andrew has a big future with our program. He’s got some good guys to learn from. Those guys are working together and pushing each other.”

Waldorf junior Marquis Cox earned 18th (27:12), and senior Aaron Ward rounded out the Warrior team scorers after taking 27th (27:26) and posting a personal-record time.

Junior Bryce Elm powered to 34th (27:50) for the Warriors. Mark Ahlers pulled in 52nd (28:58) as the Sheldon native established the record for fastest 8K time by a sophomore in Waldorf history.

Sophomore Jesse Vega secured 59th (29:15), senior Cassidy Warson charged to 83rd (30:36), sophomore Alden Zeller raced to 114th (34:36), senior Adam Brinkman claimed 116th (34:56) and junior Chasen Selsor paced to 118th (35:17). Vega and Warson both turned in personal-record times.

“Right now, we’re really starting to click,” Christianson said. “We’re starting to get guys adjusted to the training and are doing a good job.”

Davenport University (73) finished second in the team standings, ahead of Olivet Nazarene University (81), Mount Mercy University (100), Calumet College of St. Joseph (176), National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) member Illinois Central College (186), St. Ambrose University (191), Grand View University (200), William Penn University (221), NJCAA’s Sauk Valley Community College (265), Concordia University Ann Arbor (271), NJCAA’s Scott Community College (293) and Indiana University Northwest (340).

William Penn’s Jamal Boma won the meet, charging to a time of 25:31.

Waldorf enters a bye week and resumes action on Oct. 22 at the NAIA Seminole Valley Stampede in Cedar Rapids for an 11:30 a.m. start time. The meet marks the final tune-up for the Warriors before the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Championships on Nov. 5 in Dickinson, North Dakota.

“We’ve got a big meet in two weeks and then conference in four weeks,” Christianson said. “We’re just hitting everything at the right time.”