The Dordt College Defender women's cross country team claimed its first ever GPAC Championship with a dominating performance the conference championship race on Saturday, November 3 at McCook Lake, South Dakota hosted by Briar Cliff. The Defenders took the low total with 25 points to win the team title over their nearest competitors, Concordia and Nebraska Wesleyan with 91 points each.
Dordt took places three through eight on the way to the team title and the seventh runner for the Defenders in the scoring was 31st. Dordt's top five runners were separated by just 20 seconds in earning a team berth at the NAIA National Meet to be held on November 17 in Vancouver, Washington.
Lauren Opp was the first across for the Defenders with a time of 18:00 for third overall. Merissa Harkema came in fourth with a time of 18:15 and the next four runner came across in short order for Dordt. Kayla Byl was in at 18:17, Abby De Vries was right behind in sixth with a time of 18:18. Next was Renee Buikema with a time of 18:20 and Katie Bonnema was less than a second out behind Buikema for a eighth place time. Lillie Koerner clocked a 19:09 and was the second pusher for the Defenders, not figuring into the team score.
Concordia's Sarah Kortze and Jena Schwalenberg were first and second with times of 17:11 and 17:45 over the 5,000 meter course.
95 runners and 11 teams competed in the meet. Dordt's women will advance to the NAIA National meet at Vancouver, Washington.
"Our ladies put everything together today," said Dordt College coach Greg Van Dyke. "We ran a great team race with a 1-6 spread of 20 seconds. The team is excited to make a strong run at the National Championships Meet."
Nebraska Wesleyan 91
Mount Marty 186
Dakota Wesleyan 295
Briar Cliff 341