In the span of less than an hour, two runners who have been quietly establishing themselves among the best in school history for the past year left no doubt to that fact as they shattered a pair of longtime records for Mount Marty College at the Briar Cliff Invite on Saturday, October 6.
Jordan Pater (Jr.) and Kaylee Fly (Sr.) took their turns in 8000 and 5000 meter races respectively at the rock and dirt course at the Adams Nature Preserve in McCook Lake and each emerged with a time faster than any previous clocking in the 20-year history of the Lancer XC program.
Fly ran first in the women’s race and clocked an 18:32 5k, good enough for 10th overall among 163 runners. Pater was up next, and he ran the best race of his collegiate career, a scorching 25:16 8k, placing him 4th among 174 athletes. It was just the latest impressive feat for the men’s and women’s GPAC runners of the week following their DWU Invitation individual and team triumphs just a week previous in Mitchell.
Although the races snapped a 2-meet winning streak for both the male and female teams, the Lancers still turned in a number of impressive individual performances. On the ladies side, first-year Lancer Katie Smelker continued her impressive run up the standings with a clocking of 19:30, 58 seconds behind her teammate Fly and good enough for 43rd overall. Freshmen Jordyn Hudelson (54th) and Tess Byrd (70th) were next across the line for the blue and gold while seniors Brooke Fischer and Brittney Mikkelsen finished together at 81st and 82nd to complete Mount Marty’s scoring. The combined efforts were good enough to net the Lancers 8th out of 14 teams, including a finish ahead of three GPAC competitors. Not bad for a team still figuring out their identity after welcoming over half a roster of newcomers to the squad this fall.
The team race on the men’s side was even more promising, with Pater’s junior teammates Samuel Lopez (22nd), Josh Monson (50th) and Mychal Bierwagen (57th) all running their best races of the season. Freshman Gage Blaschke (73rd in 27:29) and junior Kevin Cosman (27:46) each posted PR’s to help the Lancer’s to a 6th place finish out of 14 teams. Mount Marty beat five GPAC competitors in the meet, and was within striking distance of both Doane and Dordt, something they hope to improve upon in the next three weeks before conference.
The Lancers host their home invite this Saturday, October 20 at the HSC grounds across from Wal-Mart, in what is traditionally the biggest regional cross country meet of the year. They will then travel back to McCook Lake on November 3 for the GPAC XC Championships with the hopes of qualifying as many individuals as possible for the NAIA Nationals in Vancouver, Washington on November 17.