Men’s and women’s XC caps season with strong run at NCAA Regionals


by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor

PELLA, Iowa – The Simpson men’s and women’s cross country teams sent seven runners each to the NCAA Central Regional Championships on Saturday, and both turned performances in the top half of their regions.

The men’s team was led by a 38th/198 finish by Blake Willadsen, finishing 13th/29 teams, while Sadie Timms’ 54th/208 placement gave the women a 15th/30 finish. 

***Total Results*** 

“We couldn’t have run any better,” head coach Heath Moecnk said. “It was great to put together a complete, team-race to finish up the season.” 

Willadsen ran the 8K course in 26:41.6 while Timms completed the 6K women’s course in 23:58.9. 

Simpson Individual Results 


90th – So. Courtney Neuendorf: 24:36.0

91st – Sr. Stacie Ahlers: 24:36.2

99th – Jr. Briana McCloskey: 24:53.6

110th – Sr. Bree Gaster: 25:04.4

140th– Jr. Jessica Gronke: 25:45.9


47th – So. Ian McKenzie: 26:51.6

85th – Fr. Trey Thompson (27:44.0)

91st – Sr. Nick Yaeger (27:51.7)

100th – Sr. Miles Kirts (28:04.5)

131st – Jr. Ethan Pellegrino (28:39.5)

133rd – Fr. Brady Eversmeyer (28:41.6)

Two years ago the Simpson women placed second to last in the same race, and to finish in the top half of the field only two seasons later was a remarkable improvement.

The last time the Storm finished as high as 13th was in 2009.

The Storm did so without one of their best runners, Rebecca Diemer, who couldn’t participate because of an illness. 

“It was a great team race for our women,” Moenck said. “Two years ago we finished second to last and to finish in the top half [this year] is a great accomplishment.” 

Simpson finished fourth amongst eight Iowa Conference schools, one of which was host Central College who placed 16th. 

Top 5 Women’s Teams:

1. St. Thomas (Minn.)

2. Carleton

3. St. Olaf

4. Loras

5. Luther

Willadsen’s placement was just three off the pace for earning all-region honors.

“Willadsen, McKenzie and our whole squad ran a terrific race,” Moenck said. “It was evident that there was vast improvement from last season.” 

Together the men combined to finish the course at an average of 27:26.7, finishing ahead of Coe, Dubuque and Buena Vista in IIAC competition.

Overall the IIAC dominated in the men’s regional though.

Top 5 Teams:

1. St. Olaf

2. Coe

3. Loras

4. Wartburg

5. Luther 

“Thre credit goes to the kids for putting forth the best effort they could Saturday, and all throughout the season,” Moenck said.