1981 NCAA Div. III champions
NORTHFIELD, MINN.—John Gonzalez (sophomore, San Antonio, Texas, Brackenridge HS) finished tenth in a loaded 217-runner field as the Central College men’s cross country team placed fourth at the 13-team St. Olaf (Minn.) Invitational Saturday.
Gonzalez covered the 8,000-meter course in 26 minutes, 44 seconds to finish fourth among NCAA Division III runners. His time was just six seconds off his career best and exactly one minute faster than his time on the same course last year.
“John (Gonzalez) is really maturing as a runner,” said coach Joe Dunham. “Last fall it took him a few meets to get things figured out but he established himself early this year.”
Rookie Austin O’Brien (Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) was also among the front runners, finishing just behind Gonzalez in 12th (26:51). Ben Schornack (sophomore, Urbandale) and Cody Doughan (freshman, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) were the next two Dutch runners to cross the line, finishing together in 37th (27:28) and 38th (27:28) respectively. Brandon Clough (sophomore, Marshalltown, GMG HS) was 41st (27:35), Jon Klein (freshman, Pella) was 45th (27:40), and Austin Vondracek (senior, Swisher, Cedar Rapids Prairie HS) rounded out the varsity squad in 59th (28:22). The Dutch were also without their top finisher from their season opener, Andrew Hamer (junior, Murray), who will return for the next competition.
“We were very pleased with how smart the guys ran,” said Dunham. “This was a much bigger race than we had at our home meet but they responded to it very well, especially for being so young.”
Minn.-Duluth captured the men’s team championship with 52 points, followed by St. Olaf (Minn.) with 73, Minn. State-Mankato with 120, and Central with 138. Iowa Conference rival Simpson was sixth with 176. Tom Sederquist of Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.) won the men’s individual title in a time of 25:53.
McDermott leads women-Sophomore Mel McDermott (Britt, West Hancock HS) was the first Dutch finisher in the women’s race, crossing the line in 33rd to lead Central to an eighth-place finish in the 14-team field. McDermott’s time of 24:25 over the 6,000-meter course was 16 seconds faster than last year at this meet and was just 22 second off her career best.
Claudia Garcia (senior, Iowa City, City HS) was the second Dutch runner in 42nd (24:41) with Daphne Baumgartner (freshman, Perry) close behind in 47th (24:53). Sara Crippen (senior, Williamsburg) was 50th (24:57) and Amanda Dunkin (freshman, Pella) was 59th, while Amanda Melcher (junior, Libertyville, Fairfield HS) and Jenna Broghamer (sophomore, Iowa City, West HS) rounded out Central’s varsity squad in 66th (25:32) and 67th (25:34) respectively.
“The women ran a little too conservatively at the beginning of the race,” said Dunham. “And it was big enough today that it was difficult to pass after that. We’ll have to learn to be more aggressive the next time we get out there.”
Minn.-Duluth and St. Olaf (Minn.) also took first and second in the women’s race with 27 and 48 points respectively with Central in eighth (231). League rival Simpson was ninth with 240 points. Morgan Place of Minn.-Duluth was the individual champion in a time of 21:50 in the 263-runner field.
Both teams have next weekend off and are headed to Cedar Rapids Oct. 1 for the Coe Lamb-Kohawk Invitational.