WATERTOWN, Wis. -- The Maranatha Cross Country Teams broke new ground in more ways than one during the 2020 season. NCCAA records. Team performances. Personal records. All-American finishes. Stories of resilience and grit. All of these were key parts of the 2020 season, as a couple of determined squads broke new ground for the program, setting the bar high not only for this season but also for the seasons ahead.
The teams had to wait until October to feel like they had a normal season, as cancellations took a toll on the schedule. But the teams persisted in their training, and after Jeremy Fopma broke his own program record for fastest 8K at the Bethel Invitational, the squads started to gain momentum.
They rode that momentum to a jaw-dropping display at the Jayhawk Invitational in Muskegon, Michigan the very next week. Every single runner in Maranatha colors set a PR that day, as both teams had a day they'll never forget. Fopma flew to a 25:04 8K to blow away his PR and the standing program record, and seven runners broke into or increased their standing in the program Top 20 listings.
The persistence was paying off.
At the season finale of NCCAA Nationals, the Women's Team turned out in full force, almost catching a national runner-up placement after every single runner PR'd again. The squad would only lose out on tiebreakers, but a full-squad-PR performance will never be taken away from them. On the men's side, the team battled injuries en route to a third-place finish.
But the stories that made the headlines at Nationals came on an individual level, as two runners made history.
Abigail Doak became the first runner in Maranatha Women's Cross Country program history to win the national meet, cruising to a 19:36 5K - the second-fastest time in program history. And Jeremy Fopma became the first runner on record to win the overall men's race at NCCAA Nationals, beating the field by almost a full minute. In the historic win, Fopma defended his national title, secured his All-American status, and gave the team something to celebrate in the final meet of the season.
Each runner made significant strides in the season. A list of all PRs and awards is below:
|Personal Record (Women)||Time (5K)||Date||Event|
|Abigail Doak||19:36||11/14||NCCAA Nationals|
|Sierra John||21:23||11/14||NCCAA Nationals|
|Katie Jean Lingle||22:23||11/14||NCCAA Nationals|
|Rebekah Shetter||24:36||11/14||NCCAA Nationals|
|Hannah Hecker||24:53||11/14||NCCAA Nationals|
|Katelyn Smith||26:14||11/14||NCCAA Nationals|
|Haly Hendricks||26:46||11/14||NCCAA Nationals|
|Myah Hoffmann||27:26||11/14||NCCAA Nationals|
|Personal Record (Men)||Time (8K)||Date||Event|
|Jeremy Fopma||25:04||10/17||Jayhawk Invitational|
|Josiah Cochran||28:30||10/17||Jayhawk Invitational|
|Jordan Hoffmann||28:48||11/14||NCCAA Nationals|
|Jefferson Rupert||28:50||10/24||Mustang Jamboree|
|Zach Brungard||29:53||10/17||Jayhawk Invitational|
|Drew Smith||30:41||10/24||Mustang Jamboree|
|Jonathan Gilliam||31:53||10/17||Jayhawk Invitational|
|Jeremy Zobel||32:24||10/17||Jayhawk Invitational|
|Jeremiah Markle||40:41||10/17||Jayhawk Invitational|
In a semester's-end athletic awards assembly, the following awards were highlighted, as the team recognized both national award winners and team awards:
|Most Improved (Men)||Zach Brungard|
|Most Valuable (Men)||Jeremy Fopma|
|Team Player (Men)||Drew Smith, Jordan Hoffmann|
|Newcomer of the Year (Men)||Josiah Cochran|
|Most Improved (Women)||Myah Hoffmann|
|Most Valuable (Women)||Abigail Doak|
|Team Player (Women)||Sierra John|
|Newcomer of the Year (Women)||Rebekah Shetter|
|NCCAA Nationals Overall/DII Winner (Men)|
|NCCAA DII Nationals Winner (Women)|
|NCCAA Scholar-Athletes (JR, SR, GS only)|
|Zach Brungard||Katie Jean Lingle|
|Abigail Doak||Jefferson Rupert|
|Haly Hendricks||Drew Smith|
|Jordan Hoffmann||Jeremy Zobel|