Central secured its third straight national top-12 finish at the NCAA Division III men’s cross country meet at Mason, Ohio Nov. 22.
Senior Eli Horton, who had to sit out the Iowa Conference meet due to injury, returned to become Central’s first-ever three-time men’s cross country all-America honoree, placing 28th. Senior Jamie Vander Veer made a huge leap, taking 56th and topping his career-best time by nearly 11 seconds. Junior Cole Decker was 62nd.
Decker, meanwhile, ran away with the conference title, finishing eight seconds faster than Vander Veer, the league runner-up. Freshman Mark Fairley was 10th, sophomore Isaac Steffensmeier was 11th and senior Tim Shepherd was 13th. All four gained all-conference distinction.
Central was without senior Drew Jackson—typically among the team’s top three runners—in the conference and national meets. Without Jackson and Horton at the league meet, Central slipped to second in the team standings, but still came within four points of the top spot after claiming the league crown the past three years under coach Joe Dunham.
Central’s women were fourth at the league meet. Senior Molly Bramble placed 16th, with senior Alyssa Eaves 20th, sophomore Kasey Wiedmaier 22nd and freshman Emily Linscheid 27th.
The Dutch placed 15th at the 27-team NCAA Central Regional, which was contested on Central’s rugged on-campus course. It’s the first time Central has played host to the regional meet since 1982.