WATERTOWN, Wis. -- The 2018 cross country seasons were, like any seasons, filled with both peaks and valleys for the Sabercats.
Men's Cross Country Review
The Men's team welcomed two new faces to the squad and saw three runners set personal records before the team finished in fourth place at NCCAA Nationals.
Cameron Rankin closed out his noteworthy four-year career with a PR this season. It came at the Bethel Invitational (October 5), where Rankin's 28:29.4 mark eclipsed the PR of former teammate Josh Kruit by .2 seconds, giving Rankin the fourth-best time in program history. (For MXC Top 20, CLICK HERE)
And the Bethel Invitational was no fluke - Rankin set the pace all season.
One week before his PR, the senior's 28:41 mark led the Sabercats to their best time of the season at the Warrior Invitational (September 29), and as it turned out, those two meets were the only ones that were considered "normal" in terms of conditions.
The squad had to battle a slow course and cold temperatures at the Wisconsin Private College Championships (October 13), but even the adverse conditions didn't stop David Williams, James Rossiter, and TJ Lacock from setting their best times of the season. Despite the triple season-best efforts, Maranatha felt the effects of the conditions on a team level, as they finished with their worst time of the season. This was partly due to Robert Kile's absence that day, but the course proved too tough to take down.
Then came the hill.
At the NCCAA National meet, the field had to run up a steep incline that forced some national-caliber runners to nothing more than a walk. While the Sabercats had four race-less weeks to train for Nationals, any dreams of PRs were shattered at the sight of the Ozark incline, which made the 20-degree temperatures seem like nothing more than a side note.
Only Williams and Lacock came within a minute of their season-best time that day, as the Sabercats finished fourth out of five squads at the national stage.
Still, the season was filled with high points, which are marked in the table of individual and team times below.
Women's Cross Country Review
The women's squad's pack running was remarkable.
The biggest gap between their lead runner and their fifth runner was exactly two-and-a-half minutes, and by the end of the season, the entire squad crossed the line less than a minute from front to back.
With the closeness came a variety of lead runners, as four different members of the squad led the Sabercats throughout the season. The only runner to pace the Sabercats more than once was Sierra John, who led Maranatha at the Ken Weidt Classic (September 8) and the Warrior Invitational.
After Alicyn Wigdal notched her best time of the season at the Bethel Invitational 5K, three different runners set their season-best marks at the Wisconsin Private College Championships, as the Women's Team overcame the challenging course and cold weather to record their best team time of the season.
As it would turn out, the WPCC was a good tune-up for nationals, as the Sabercats once again had to compete in unexpectedly low temperatures at the national stage. Madelyn Hansel saw her hard work pay off, as the senior ran through a nagging injury for the final time to post her best time of the season, pacing MBU for the first time all year. Hansel's 23:29 mark was just 55 seconds faster than the Sabercats' fifth runner - once again, the pack running shone through.
Below is a breakdown of all the team and individual times this season:
|Men's Team||9/8 - KWC||9/29 - WI||10/5 - BI||10/13 - WPCC||11/10 - NCCAA|
|Katie Jean Lingle||32:55||29:12||23:59||29:02*^||24:14|
^ denotes season record / * denotes personal record / # denotes unofficial time
At the recent Athletic Awards Assembly, Coach Isaiah Steinbart announced the team awards for the season. The awards are listed below along with awards from the Association of Division III Independents and the NCCAA.
|David Williams||Most Valuable Runner|
|Drew Smith||Most Improved Runner|
|Cameron Rankin||AD3I 1st Team All-Independent|
|Jefferson Rupert||AD3I 1st Team All-Independent|
|Robert Kile||AD3I 2nd Team All-Independent|
|TJ Lacock||NCCAA Scholar-Athlete|
|Cameron Rankin||NCCAA Scholar-Athlete|
|James Rossiter||NCCAA Scholar-Athlete|
|Anna Heins||Most Valuable Runner|
|Katie Jean Lingle||Christian Character Award|
|Anna Heins||AD3I 1st Team All-Independent|
|Sierra John||AD3I 1st Team All-Independent|
|Madelyn Hansel||NCCAA Scholar-Athlete|
|Anna Heins||NCCAA Scholar-Athlete|