The Dordt women and Doane men claimed the titles in a preview of the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championships, the Mount Marty Invitational cross country meet on Saturday at Yankton’s Fox Run Golf Course.

Among the 17 teams competing in the event were 11 GPAC programs. Jamestown, which pulled out of the meet due to COVID-19 concerns within the program, was the only league school not in the field.

MMU will host the GPAC Championships on that course on Nov. 7.

 “I think it went better than expected just because the weather was kinda iffy with the frost, but Fox Run was amazing letting us have the meet here and it worked out pretty well,” Mount Marty Head Coach Randy Fischer said.

Many of Fischer’s runners also mentioned the weather as a factor, but the Lancers overcame it for a good race from both teams.

“It was a cold morning. When it started snowing, that was kind of a mental block, but we pushed through and ran pretty good,” junior and Hartington native Seth Wiebelhaus said.

“Definitely the weather was good for us, I think we were used to running in the cold and this was no shock to us so we went out there and competed and did well,” Freshman Liam Vidas would add..

Eden Winslow of Dordt was the women’s winner with a time of 18:40.16, beating out teammate Jessica Kampman (18:49.23). Hastings’ Sam Crossett (18:51.23) was third, followed by Morningside’s Kristin Honomichl (18:56.93) and Jo McKibben (19:01.05).

For Mount Marty, Kelsey Folchert got off to a fast start for the Lancers, as she climbed into the top 20 early. Folchert would finish the race as the top Lancer with a time of 20:46, which was good for 55th place.

“Usually I always try to get out there. It really helps my mentally when I get out there right away and set the pace for the rest of the race,” Folchert said of her quick start.

Taylor Carlson also finished in 74th place for the Lancers with a time of 21:15 , while Kiah Trainor finished in 99th place with  a time of 21:49. Other Lancer varsity pointer-scorers were Jaclyn Laprpath (108th), Gracie Rippen (113th), Joanie Schultz (121st) and Madison Howard (124th).

Overall, the Lancers finished in 12th place. Folchert believes Mount Marty will only keep improving.

“I think our team has done really well. I think we are really great about pushing each other and encouraging each other to do our best, so that makes a great team,and we are doing better each and every time.”

Shawn Kiptoo of Doane ran a blistering 25:11.29 over the 8,000-meter course for men’s victory, placing 13 seconds ahead of Dordt’s Davis Tebben (25:24.67). The Tigers and Defenders alternated the next three spots, with Doane’s Thomas Oliver (25:34.56) in third, Dordt’s Nicholas Veldhorst (25:35.67) in fourth and Doane’s Alec Wick (25:44.27) in fifth.

Doane beat out Dordt 26 to 41 for the men’s title.

For Mount Marty, Brian Santiago was the lead runner with a time of 26:30 good for 21st place. The junior leader has had a breakout season for the Lancers, and is right of the fringes of making it to nationals.

“Brian Santiago had a really good race so he’s got a shot to go to nationals yet, but he has to run a little better than he did today,” Fischer said. “He still had a strong race and I was happy with how he did.”

Liam Vidas, a freshman from Rapid City, was the Lancers’ second runner in 70th place with a time of 28:08. Other Lancer point-scorers were Wiebelhaus (101st), Mason Schlunsen (105th), Caden Ideker (108th), Brayden Effle (112th), and Lukas Blankman (123rd). Overall, the Lancers finished in 11th place. 

Now the Lancers will prepare for the conference meet at Fox Run on Nov. 7, where Mount Marty is hoping to keep improving along the way.

“We are going to keep putting in our runs, and being conversitive during the season to save our energy for conference, and during conference hopefully we can be a little better than we did today,” Santiago said.

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