Back-to-back Iowa Conference champions (2012, 2013)
DES MOINES—A partial Central College men’s cross country squad took runner-up honors at the Grand View Viking Invitational Friday evening competing without most of their top runners.
The Dutch elected to hold out the eight of their top-ten finishers from the early-season competitions in order to prepare for the University of Minnesota Roy Griak Invitational next weekend, considered one of the marquee meets in the country.
Tim Shepherd (sophomore, Knoxville) led the way for Central, finishing ninth overall with a time of 27 minutes, two seconds for the 8,000-meter course.
“Tim ran a great race,” said coach Joe Dunham. “He ran almost a minute faster than his time last year and almost had a personal best on a very tough course.
Brandon Clough (senior, Marshalltown, GMG HS) was next for the Dutch, crossing the finish line in 11th (27:46). Ben Schornack (senior, Urbandale) took 18th (28:06) in his first meet back from an early-season injury, while freshman Kyle Nuehring (freshman, Clive, Waukee HS) enjoyed a breakthrough race to finish 22nd (28:20). Jordan Burns (sophomore, Cedar Rapids, Prairie HS) was 26th (28:53), followed by Clayton Fritz (junior, Indianola) and Nathan Good (junior, St. Peters, Mo., Fort Zumwalt East HS) in 30th (29:07) and 37th (29:40) respectively.
“I also thought Kyle (Nuehring) and Jordan (Burns) ran well,” said Dunham.
Drake won the meet with 17 points. Central totaled 62 points to take second in the seven-team field. Mike Rodriguez of Drake was the individual champion, crossing the line in 26:12.
“It’s good for our guys to get a race like this on a rough course,” said Dunham. “Not every cross country race is on a golf course and it’s good to remind ourselves of that sometimes.”
Both Dutch squads will travel to St. Paul, Minn. next Saturday for the Roy Griak Invitational, annually one of the largest meets in the country. In 2011 over 3,500 runners from Division I, II, and III, as well as high schools, competed in 10 races.
“We’re looking forward to competing up in Minnesota. It will be good for us to get in that type of atmosphere as we get closer to the championship season,” said Dunham. “It will be a lot bigger than the races we’ve been in so far and will give us an opportunity to see where we are at compared to some of the other teams in the region.”