Grace XC Three-Peats as NCCAA National Champs
For the third straight year, Grace’s cross country teams earned the title of national champions.
Grace’s men and women swept the 2023 NCCAA National Championships on Friday morning – the program’s third consecutive year of sweeping the national titles.
The Lancers racked up 12 All-American awards between the two teams during the Lancers’ unified effort.
Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Michael Moffitt was named the NCCAA National Coach of the Year for men’s and women’s cross country.
The race was held at Warsaw Community High School’s cross country course; Grace and Bethel teamed up for the host responsibilities for the national championships. WCHS will host the national championship races again next year in the two-year host agreement.
Grace’s men began the day with an impressive showing. The Lancers had eight finishers across the top-18 in the nation.
Cole Johnston, Dimitri Margaritidis, Korry Hamlin and Logan Rufenacht finished fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
Johnston crossed the finish line at 25:53.3, and Margaritidis, Hamlin and Rufenacht crossed the finish line at practically the same time.
Brady Hunsberger placed 10th in the race with a time of 26:06.1. All five of Grace’s top-five runners earned NCCAA All-American status (given to top-10 finishers in the country).
Brandon Kleber (26:09.6) grabbed 11th place, Justin Van Prooyen (26:26.0) was 13th overall, and Luis Loera (26:33.8) was 14th.
Dakota Ames (27:22.1) and Luke Nier (27:31.6) also ran well for the Lancers.
On the women’s side, seven Lancers claimed All-American status as well. Esther Cameron and Mallory Hiatt crossed the finish line together at 19:09.7 to grab third place, and Cece Mitchell was a fraction of a second behind for fifth place.
Grace also earned the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th-place finishers. Anna Hulstedt (19:21.1), Tara Friesen (19:25.5), Addison Grady (19:27.7) and Tame Baylis (19:30.7) finished in a tight group to close out the top-10 individuals and earn All-American honors.
Katie Acker (19:41.8) and Madelyn Skidmore (19:49.1) placed 12th and 14th respectively, and Morgan Welch grabbed 19th place with a time of 20:30.9.
Overall, Grace had seven of the top-10 finishers and nine of the top 14 for the women’s side.
The Lancers have one race left. Grace will run at the 2023 NAIA National Championships on Nov. 17 in Vancouver, Wash.