Simpson Cross Country looks to end the season on a high note


Mo Marks

Simpson Cross Country men and women combine for the best conference result in more than a decade.

by Mo Marks, Staff Reporter

The Simpson College Cross Country team competed in the American Rivers Conference cross country meet Saturday, Oct. 30 and earned their best-combined conference result in more than a decade.
The men’s team finished third with a score of 80. They ran an average time of 26:03 with a spread of 1:15 between their first and seventh runners. They were beaten only by Wartburg College and Loras College; the teams ranked first and eighteenth nationally. The men’s team was supported by excellent performances from Spencer Moon, Harry Dudley and Louden Foster who each earned all-conference honors.
The women’s team finished fourth with a score of 121. They ran an average time of 24:25 with a spread of 38 seconds between their first and seventh runners. They were beaten by Wartburg College, Loras College and Central College; teams which are ranked fourth, thirty-fifth and earning votes but unranked nationally. Head Coach Heath Moenck noted stand-out performances by Cat Lucht, Lara Kallem and Teghan Booth as being integral to the team’s success.
This is the men’s team’s second year in a row finishing third; however, before last year they hadn’t finished this well since 1990. It’s the women’s best result since 2009. Coach Moenck only expects results to improve over the next few years.
“On the women’s side, we had five first years in our top six,” Moenck said. With that many students in their first year of NCAA eligibility, he believes the team will be bolstered by maturing performances from key athletes.
The team’s next competition is the Midwest Regional Tournament in Rock Island, Illinois, on Saturday, Nov. 13 where they will be fighting to qualify to the national tournament.
“We will continue to train the way we have all year and expect good results. It’s a course we’ve already been to, that we’ve had success at, so we’ll be excited to see if we can get some teams or people through to nationals,” Moenck said, adding, “The top five teams in our men’s region are all in the top twenty teams in the country. That’s really tough.”
While having a harder region may be a detriment in other sports, it helps Simpson in cross country. Each region’s winning team automatically qualifies to nationals. Then, a committee selects teams to fill at-large berths in the national tournament. While other places in the country may just have one or two at-large teams, the Midwest regularly has four or five. The coach’s poll from Nov. 2 shows the Simpson men’s team ranked sixth in the region, which means if the region gets as many at-large berths as usual, the men have a chance at making it to the national tournament.
Even if the team doesn’t qualify, individuals can still compete in the national tournament by being one of the top seven finishers from non-qualifying schools. With the Midwest expected to send a significant number of schools to the national tournament, Simpson runners once again have hope for a spot at nationals.