The Master’s University cross-country teams had a successful end to the season on Nov. 17 at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Cross-Country National Championships in Vancouver, Wash., with the women finishing second and the men finishing fourth.
The women raced first and had arguably the best race in the program’s history. The Mustangs finished second, the highest finish in team history, and scored just 92 points despite only being ranked fifth in the latest NAIA Coaches’ Poll. Hannah Fredericks (21:52) again led the way, finishing tenth in a loaded field.
The Mustangs behind Fredericks also helped pull the squad to its runner-up finish in the 6000m competition. Suzie Johnson (22:01) put the capstone on a breakout sophomore year by finishing 13th, and Ellen Palmgren (22:13) added another All-American in her last-ever cross-country race by nabbing the 17th spot through a hard close.
“I know that it was not my own doing but the Lord’s work in me,” Palmgren said. “He put in me the place to encourage and bring Bekah and Emma up to being All-Americans and have the best team finish in the history of TMU.”
Following Palmgren were Rebekah Niednagel (22:20) and Emma Nelson (22:40) to round out the scoring for the Mustangs. Niednagel came through with a solid finishing 2000m to grab 23rd place, and Nelson captured another All-American with her 40th place finish.
“I just prayed before the race, Lord help me to have your rest and your peace going into this race, and that He would use me for His glory,” Niednagel said. “The Lord was so faithful and carried me in His strength through the race, and I am just so thankful for the Lord and everything He has done in and through this team.”
The Mustangs finished fourth on the men’s side and had three All-American honors. Despite being in only seventh place through the first 1000m, TMU worked itself into a podium finish on a challenging and hilly course. Jack Anderson (25:02) finished eighth overall, achieving the highest finish on the course since John Gilbertson won the title in 2012. Anderson passed almost 80 runners over the length of the 8000m course.
Senior Daniel Rush (25:09) earned his first cross-country All-American in his last career race and also passed over 30 runners throughout the race to finish 12th.
“There were some great performances and certainly some disappointments, but we know that God is still on His throne,” Rush said. “Overall, it was truly one of the most joyful experiences of my career to cap it off racing with my best friends, who all run with a common aim of resting in the salvation we have secure in Jesus Christ.”
Brint Laubach (25:30) finished 28th overall to cap his college career with another cross-country All-American award.
Overall, this season has yielded many personal records, high finishes, and overall team wins. In this year alone, TMU has run the fastest team times in school history on both sides, won several large invitationals, broken the freshman records, achieved its highest finish at Nationals in history, and earned eight All-American awards.
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