Morningside College’s men’s cross country team won its first Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) championship in school history when the Mustangs reigned at the 2013 GPAC Cross Country Championships held Saturday in Seward, Neb.
The Mustangs had four of the top 10 finishers and finished with 41 points for a 20-point victory margin over Nebraska Wesleyan University, the runner-up with 61 points. Concordia University, the top ranked team from the GPAC in the NAIA national rankings throughout the season, finished third with 63 points.
By winning the GPAC championship, the Mustangs qualified for the 2013 NAIA Cross Country National Championships to be held Nov. 23 at Rim Rock Farms in Lawrence, Kan.
Morningside’s Garret Ehlers, a senior from Ida Grove, won the GPAC individual championship by running the 8k course in a time of 26:01.90 for a seven-second victory margin over runner-up Johnny Rutford of Nebraska Wesleyan.
The Mustangs had three other finishers in the top 10. Mark Abrams, a sophomore from Glenwood, Iowa, finished fifth with a time of 26:42.56; Alec DeVries, a freshman from Merrill, Iowa, finished seventh with a time of 26:54.93; and Jay Welp, a junior from Conrad, Iowa, finished 10th with a time of 26:57.17.
Morningside completed its team score with an 18th place time of 27:19.39 from Taylor Kube, a senior from Crofton, Neb.
Morningside finished sixth in the women’s division of the GPAC Championships. The Mustangs’ top runner was Tiffany Shepherd, a freshman from Corning, Iowa, who finished 12th with a time of 19:13.31 over the 5k course. The Mustangs’ second leading finisher was Nicole Ausborn, a sophomore from Nora Springs, Iowa, who was 25th with a time of 19:59.98.