Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney cross country teams finished fourth (women) and fifth (men) at the annual Augustana Twilight meet Friday night in Sioux Falls.
This is one of the biggest meets in the area, drawing over 5,000 runners ranging from junior varsity high school through Division I colleges. All of the teams ran on the Yankton Trails Park course with the women taking part in a 5k and the men going four miles.
The Loper women, ranked seventh in the Central Region, had quite the 2019 debut at they were the top Division II team in a field of 25. Among the squads UNK, which tallied 148 points, came in front of were Minnesota State (9th in the Central), Division I Nebraska-Omaha, Winona State, Sioux Falls and Northern State.
A banged up UNK men’s team, coming in ranked sixth in the Central, still finished fifth out of 26 by scoring 134 points. The Lopers bested South Dakota, MSU, Winona State, and Iowa Western C.C., among others.
Iowa junior Maddie Bach (17:46.46) and Imperial junior Destiny Reinke (17:46.56) literally ran together and were seventh and eighth, respectively. USD junior Abby Ripperda paced the field of 306 by turning in a 16:47.07.
Rounding out UNK scorers in this meet were Comstock junior Zoe Ritz (37 points/19:05.02), Ulysses sophomore Sinclare Fiala (42/19:12.98) and Omaha freshman Hannah Pollan (54/19:32.61).
The Kearney men saw 2018 All-American Corbin Hansen (Deweese) run a 19:26.82 to finish ninth out of 321. Cloud County C.C. freshman Dais Malebana ran an 18:54.46 to pace the field in his first collegiate race.
Also cracking the top 50 for the Lopers was McCool Junction sophomore Luke Stuckey (23 points/19:55.13), Ainsworth freshman Ben Arens (41/20:14.80), Norfolk junior TeJai Clausen (42/20:15.00) and Kearney sophomore Cole Willis (49/20:22.20).
UNK runs again at the Greeno/Dirksen Invite at UNL on September 21.