Junior Alec Wick won the individual Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Championship meet and the team placed second after posting their season-best team time.
Wick is the first individual men’s cross country winner since 2011 after finishing the meet with a time of 25:05.60. According to Doane Athletics, Wick is the third runner to win for the school in the current NIAC/GPAC era.
“The teams are really competitive and I knew it was going to be a tight race,” Wick said in a post-race interview with the GPAC. “It was great weather to be racing today. With Doane, we try to run as a team and support each other. We are doing the best that we can as a team and do our own individual part to help the team.”
The team finished their meet with a total team time of 2:08:30.96 to earn their second-place spot behind champions Dordt. The Defenders earned 28 points and had five runners in the top-10 of the race to take the title. The Tigers finished with 44 points.
For the team, both senior Rosten From and junior Samuel Saldivar ran their personal-bests to take fourth and eighth individually at the meet. Freshman Aidan Wheelock finished 14th for the Tigers and junior Evan Wick placed 18th to round out the scoring five runners for Doane.
After the strong team performance, the Doane Tigers finished out the regular season ranked 18th in the country and will receive an at-large bid to the 64th Annual Men’s Cross Country National Championships in Vancouver, Washington on November 22, 2019.
The rankings come from votes by a panel of head coaches representing each of the NAIA Conferences.
“The team is very proud of all the accomplishments we’ve been able to achieve this season,” Wick said. “We’ve officially qualified for nationals and we’re excited to compete at a high level.”
In order to prepare for the national meet in two weeks, the team will begin reducing the distance of their runs and lower the intensity of their workouts. The goal is to lower the mileage on the legs and body so that they are fully rested and ready to compete at their best in Washington.
While the team ranks 18th in the national poll, Wick says their plan is to finish ahead of that ranking and to compete with some of the other top schools in the country.
“If we have a strong national meet, it’ll allow us to start off next year with a higher rank,” Wick said.