Morningside’s men’s cross country team repeated as GPAC champions on Saturday.
Morningside College’s men’s cross country team successfully defended its Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) championship when the Mustangs repeated as league champions at Saturday’s GPAC Cross Country Championship in Mitchell, S.D.
Morningside, ranked 12th nationally in the NAIA, had three of the top six individual finishers on the way to a 44-point total for a 20-point victory margin over runner-up Northwestern (64).
By winning the GPAC team title, the Mustangs qualified for the upcoming 2014 NAIA Cross Country National Championships to be held Nov. 22 in Lawrence, Kan. The Mustangs will make their third consecutive appearance as a team at the NAIA national meet.
Morningside’s Jay Welp, a senior from Conrad, Iowa, won the GPAC’s individual championship with a time of 25:10.56 over the 8k course to top a field of 99 runners. Welp became the second straight Morningside runner to capture the GPAC’s individual crown, joining graduated senior Garret Ehlers, who accomplished the feat last year.
Aside from having this year’s GPAC individual winner, the Mustangs also had the runner-up in Mark Abrams, a junior from Glenwood, Iowa, who ran second with a time of 25:14.57. Morningside had a third top 10 finisher in Alec DeVries, a sophomore from Merrill, Iowa, who finished sixth with a time of 25:24.75.
Morningside completed its team score with a 17th place finish from Jacob Scott, a freshman from Rodney, Iowa; and an 18th place finish from Sean Skillern, a sophomore from Shenandoah, Iowa, with times of 26:09.22 and 26:09.47, respectively.
The Mustangs top finisher in the women’s race was Allison Higgins, a freshman from Jefferson, Iowa, who finished 20th with a time of 19:01.87 over the 5k course. Michelle Mumm, a freshman from Neola, Iowa, was next with a 28th place time of 19:19.41.
Morningside finished sixth in the final women’s GPAC Championship standings with 140 points.