Cross country

GPAC Cross Country Championship 11:15 a.m. Saturday, November 8, Mitchell, S.D.

Meet location

Wild Oak Golf Course
2500 E 1st Ave.
Mitchell , S.D.

Host school

Located in Mitchell, S.D., GPAC Cross Country Championships is a member of the Non-affiliated (NA).
Red Raiders To Compete At GPAC Championships

The Event...Northwestern College will compete in the GPAC Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Wild Oak Golf Club in Mitchell, S.D. The women's 5K race will take place first, beginning at 11:15am, followed by the men's 8k race at noon. (Note the time change) Click on the following link to view the GPAC release.

GPAC Release

Teams Competing...All 11 conference teams, including Nebraska Wesleyan, will compete on Saturday.

Format...The top NAIA team (excluding Nebraska Wesleyan which goes NCAA D-III) for both races will earn the conference's lone automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship. The top four individual runners, excluding any runners from team's that qualify for the national championship, also earn a bid to the championships, provided they finish in the top 15 overall.

Last Year...Northwestern finished tied for fifth out of 11 teams in the 2013 GPAC men's cross country championship hosted by Concordia and held in Seward, Neb. 

The Red Raiders totaled 120 points and tied with Doane for fifth place overall, 24 points in back of fourth place Dordt. Morningside won the team championship with 41 points, followed by Nebraska Wesleyan (61) and Concordia (63). 

Will Norris was the top Red Raider finisher, crossing the finish line in eighth place with an 8K time of 26:56 and qualified to compete in the NAIA National Championship. Norris earned all-conference honors with his top 15 finish. Two additional NWC runners placed in the top 25, led by Kyle Anderson (22nd) and Logan Hovland (24th). Skyler Giddings placed 27th and Zach Wittenberg finished 39th out of 95 runners.

Garret Ehlers of Morningside was the men's individual champion with a time of 26:01.

Men’s 2013 Final Standings
Morningside 41
Nebraska Wesleyan 61
Concordia 63
Dordt 96
Northwestern 120
Doane 120
Mount Marty 225
Hastings 229
Dakota Wesleyan 276
Briar Cliff 280
Midland 298

Northwestern finished seventh in the women's championship, totaling 203 points, just in front of Hastings with 204. Dordt ran away with the team championship for the second straight year, recording 35 points. 

Kelley Thurman was the top Red Raider finisher, finishing 28th with a 5K time of 20:03. Dawn Gildersleeve placed 36th with a time of 20:24, followed by Amber Sandbulte in 45th place with a time of 20:37.

Katie Smelker of Mount Marty won the women's race with a time of 18:12.

Women’s 2013 Final Standings
Dordt 35
Doane 65
Nebraska Wesleyan 71
Mount Marty 120
Concordia 144
Morningside 175
Northwestern 203
Hastings 204
Midland 207
Dakota Wesleyan 280
Briar Cliff 345

Last Time Out...Northwestern finished 10th (women) and fourth (men) at the Mount Marty Invite held Oct. 25 in Yankton, S.D.

Amber Sandbulte placed 34th in the 5K race with a time of 19:43, followed closely by Katie Bosch in 58th place with a time of 20:10. The Red Raiders totaled 286 points, fifth best among GPAC teams, and nine better than Mount Marty.

The men's team placed fourth out of 16th teams and second only to Morningside among GPAC teams. They scored 103 points and were led by the senior duo of Logan Hovland (16th-26:14) and Skyler Giddings (17th-26:17). 

Rankings and Outlook...Northwestern is ranked 23rd in the latest NAIA men's cross country poll. The final rating will be released on Sunday, Nov. 9 and based on that final ranking, the at-large bids will be awarded to team's who did not win their conference championship. 

NAIA Cross Country Championship page

Up Next…The NAIA National Championships are scheduled for Saturday, November 22 at Rim Rock Farm near Lawrence, Kan.