Bringing Home Dordt's First Cross Country National Title

Joe Anderson smiling at the camera

Joseph Anderson is an excellent cross country runner. In addition to being named National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Scholar-Athlete two times, Joe has been a national qualifier all four years at Dordt, earning all-conference honors ranging from an 11th-place finish in 2019 to a fifth-place finish at the Great Plains Athletics Conference (GPAC) Championship in 2021.

What tops all of his successes in cross country, though, is how the Dordt men’s cross country team claimed the 67th Annual NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championship at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee in November 2022.

“I knew that our team had a very good chance of placing high,” he says. “Exactly how high I didn’t know. It takes everything coming together on that day to win a national title. We were blessed with our best race of the season.”

Prior to the championships, Joe trained hard. He was diligent all summer with his workouts and getting his mileage in. Even on the morning of his wedding, he ran 10 miles. He and his teammates stuck with high mileage, running 90 – 100 miles per week.

“As the season progressed, our training shifted from developing our aerobic base and getting stronger to maintaining what we had and staying healthy,” says Joe. “We knew that the hay was in the barn, so to speak, and that we just needed to get to nationals with everyone healthy.”

They did, and the results were more than what Joe and his teammates might have initially imagined.

“It was surreal, having my 10 years of cross country come to an end on such a high seems like a storybook ending,” says Joe. “It was an honor to represent Dordt and to bring back the red banner.”

The team brought home their first cross country national title and were the first team from the GPAC to win nationals.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for my teammates and for Coach Wolf,” says Joe. “This year’s team was so special not because of the races we won but because of how we loved each other. We are all best friends, and it showed in the way we ran races together. Coach Wolf was the ship captain that gently guided us to where we ended up. I’m so glad I chose to come to Dordt.”

Joe is studying engineering at Dordt, a major he appreciates not only for the coursework but for the small class sizes and friendly professors as well.

“I appreciate the balance I get to have between sports and academics at Dordt. My professors are super good about letting me make up work when I must miss class days for far-away meets. Coach Wolf also understands that academics come first, which is good for us athletes to see in our head coach.”