Central cross country teams compete

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Dutch fourth, Sanders all-conference at league cross country meet

DUBUQUE — Led by a seventh-place run from junior Nate Sanders (Waukee), the Central College men’s cross country team finished fourth at the American Rivers Conference championships Saturday morning.

In the nine-team league meet, Central finished with 108 points. Wartburg College was the team champion with 19 points. Wartburg’s Joe Freiburger won the 8,000-meter race in 26 minutes, 47.6 seconds despite the course’s poor condition.

“They had to cut out a specific loop on the course because of how muddy it was,” Dunham said. “There’s no way the runners would have been able to do it.”

A fantastic junior campaign continued for Sanders Saturday, finishing in the top-10 for the fourth time in five meets this season, with a time of 27:21.8. He had not previously finished better than 49th at a conference meet. He earned all-conference recognition for a top-15 finish.

“Nate continues to show drastic improvement this season,” Dunham said. “He’s running at a really high level right now and did a good job today.”

Freshman Caleb Silver (Conrad, BCLUW HS) continued his late-season surge, finishing 18th (27:55.9) as Central’s second runner.

“He showed a lot of maturity as a runner, especially for being a freshman and with the conditions as bad as they were,” Dunham said.

Will DeHaan (sophomore, DeWitt, Central DeWitt HS) and Daniel Sunvold (senior, Monroe, Southeast Polk HS) finished back-to-back in 31st (28:25.4) and 32nd (28:31.3), respectively.

Easton Sabala (sophomore, Wheatland, Mo., Hermitage HS) grabbed Central’s final scoring spot in 42nd (28:53.9). The No. 6 and 7 runners for Central, Ben Lamparek (sophomore, Williamsburg) and Cutler Owens (sophomore, Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) were also back-to-back finishers in 44th (28:59.8) and 45th (29:00.9).

“They all competed hard and ran smart,” Dunham said

Central’s top-.seven runners will be in Waverly on Saturday, November 16 for the NCAA Division III Central Regional Championships. The regional competition serves as a qualifier for the national meet.

“This team is confident going into the regional meet,” Dunham said. “I don’t feel like we’ve reached our full potential yet. It was our best performance of the year, but I still feel like there’s a lot left on the table.”

Central women fifth at conference cross country championships

DUBUQUE — Running on a shortened course with poor footing, the Central College women’s cross country team finished fifth at the American Rivers Conference Championships Saturday afternoon.

The Dutch scored 162 points while Wartburg College won the team title with 36 points. Wartburg’s Carina Collett won the shortened 5,000-meter race in 19 minutes, 18.7 seconds. The race is normally 6,000-meters long but conditions at the course initiated the change.

“It probably felt like a 6K with all of the slipping and sliding,” coach Joe Dunham said. “It was tough sledding out there for everyone.”

Lauren Moll (senior, Faribault, Minn.) paced Central with a 25 th-place finish, completing the course in 21:20.5.

“Lauren felt like she got out a little too conservative,” Dunham said. “She put herself in a hole that she had to fight her way out of. Her experience really showed as she didn’t panic and kept moving through the field to get in better position.”

Freshmen Mari Stein (Okoboji), Lauren Miller (Dubuque) and Lauren Coon (Oskaloosa) finished in the No. 2, 3, and 4 spots for Central. Stein was 31st (21:33.1), Miller was 48th (22:29.1) and Coon was 52nd (22:36.6).

Dunham was especially pleased with the effort of his No. 5 runner, senior Ashley Meldrum (Cambridge, Ballard HS). She was 54th overall in 22:40.4

“Ashley ran phenomenal,” Dunham said. “She did a great job for our team.”

The Dutch also had Brenna Thomson (freshman, Baxter) and Hailey Hill (freshman, Las Vegas, Nev., West Career & Technical Academy) in the varsity lineup. Thomson was 79th (23:24.2) and Hill was 87th (23:37.7)

Central’s top-seven runners will be in Waverly on Saturday, November 16 for the NCAA Division III Central Regional Championships. The regional competition serves as a qualifier for the national meet.

“This race for our women team has made them hungry for two weeks from now,” Dunham said. “We want to get back out there and show what we can do.”