Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney cross country teams placed first (men) and third (women) at the Newman Team Championships Friday evening in Wichita.
This meet, UNK’s second and last regular season event of 2020, brought together MIAA schools that are competing in cross country this fall. This also serves as a qualifying meet for the Division II National Invitational next month in Lubbock, Texas.
Both squads are likely headed to that Nov. 14 meet after strong showings today. The men, ranked 13th nationally, had five of the top 12 finishers to score 30 points with the women having four in the top 19 to tally 77 points.
The UNK men were 13 points ahead of Northwest Missouri State with Central Missouri (98) a distant third in the seven-team race. A bit shorthanded due to some injuries, the Loper women trailed NW Missouri (50) and Central Missouri (52) while being well ahead of fourth place Missouri Western State (97). The women’s race also featured seven programs.
Ainsworth sophomore Ben Arens was the men’s runner up thanks to an 8k time of 25:06. Jhordan Ccope of NW Missouri led the field of 92 with a 24:50. A top 14 finish is good for “All-Meet” honors.
Cracking the top 15 and also scoring for UNK was McCool Junction junior Luke Stuckey (4th/25:14.1), Juniata junior Justin Vrooman (5th/25:15.2), Scottsbluff redshirt junior Josh Hergenreder (8th/25:30.7) and Surprise junior Eli Frasher (12th; 11 points/25:41.5).
The women were led by Imperial senior Destiny Reinke (4th/21:54.2) and Iowa senior Maddie Bach (12th/22:58.1). Defanie Dykes of NW Missouri won the 5k in 21:27.2 and paced a field of 66 runners.
Rounding out the Loper top five was Kearney freshman Grace Bonsall (19th; 17 points/23:29.4), Surprise sophomore Allie Frasher (21st; 19 points/23:32.5) and Ulysses junior Sinclare Fiala (27th; 25 points/23:45.).
The field for the D2 Invite will be released this week or early next.