The Hesston College women’s cross country team recently completed another successful season in an always-competitive NJCAA Region VI schedule.
At the October 31 region championship meet in Overland Park, Kan., Hesston placed seventh among 16 school. All six programs that placed ahead of the Larks were ranked in the top-25 national poll this season. A high level of competition is nothing new for Hesston College Cross Country, as the men and women’s program’s routinely compete with top NJCAA talent, as well as with varsity squads from four-year athletic programs.
Hesston’s seventh place finish represents the best season ever for the program.
Hannah Heidebrecht (Minneapolis, Minn.) capped off a brilliant freshman season with a 13th place finish among 96 runners, earning all-region honors. Heidebrecht was a medalist in every meet in 2015.
Freshman Rene Buckwalter (Wellman, Iowa) was a medalist in the Oct. 16 Butler CC (El Dorado, Kan.) meet.
A highlight for this year’s team was several days spent volunteering at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, Divide, Colo., where the men’s and women’s team partnered with Mennonite Disaster Service in contributing over 350 hours to clearing beetle-infested trees at the camp.
“Our women had an outstanding year,” said Hesston Coach Gerry Sieber. “It was a freshmen-laden roster and already excited about next year.
The Hesston College women’s cross country team put up impressive individual and team times at the Tabor College (Hillsboro, Kan.) Invitational on Friday, Sept. 25. Competing against NCAA Div. II, NAIA and NJCAA talent, the Larks came away with a solid fourth place finish among nine schools.
Hannah Heidebrecht (Minneapolis, Minn.) placed fifth overall (73 total runners) and first among NJCAA athletes after she turned in a personal-best 20:08.32 in the women’s 5K. Rene Buckwalter (Wellman, Iowa) placed 17th with a personal-best time of 21:05.98, over 90 seconds better than she ran Sept. 12 in Hutchinson.
In fact, five Hesston runners enjoyed personal bests on the day. Madison Rickabaugh’s (Coldwater, Kan.) 21:41:12 was good for 26th overall, while Becky Jensen placed 28th with a time of 21:46.73. Eva Dwyer (Middlebury, Ind.) contributed with a 24:10.91, good for 43rd overall.
Hesston runners averaged 21:46.62. The Larks compete at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2 at Johnson County CC (Overland Park).
The Hesston College women’s cross country team enjoyed a 4th place finish at Hutchinson (Kan.) CC’s Terry Masterson Classic on Saturday, Sept. 12.
Freshman Hannah Heidebrecht (Minneapolis, Minn.) led all Hesston runners for the second consecutive week with an outstanding 20:16.4 in the 5K race, less than 10 seconds off the pace (20:08.1) and good for 3rd place overall. Rene Buckwalter (Wellman, Iowa) finished 24th (among 43 total runners) in 22:39.2.
Becky Jensen (Rossville, Kan.) 23:04.1 finished 26th overall, while Madison Rickabaugh (Coldwater, Kan.) was the 4th Hesston freshman to place in top-30 with a time of 23:10.5.
Hesston competes at Emporia (Kan.) State University at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25.
The Hesston College women’s cross country team finished fifth overall at Baker University’s Maple Leaf Invitational women’s 4K, held Sept. 5 at Baldwin City (Kan.) Golf Course.
Hannah Heidebrecht (Minneapolis, Minn.) finished 14th overall after averaging a 6:47.2 mile (16:52.03 overall). Rene Buckwalter (Wellman, Iowa) came in 33rd with a 7:09.2 mile average (17:46.66 overall). Madison Rickabaugh (Coldwater, Kan.) averaged 7:23.2 (18:21.38 overall) to finish 36th. Becky Jensen (Rossville, Kan.) also finished in the top-50 (45th) with a mile average of 7:42.3 and a 19:08.92 overall.
The Larks run at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Hutchinson (Kan.) CC.
Hesston College Cross Country Coach Gerry Sieber has his teams ready for a new year, as the Larks are poised to build on previous successes. The 2015 women’s and men’s rosters will have a combined 22 runners, the most ever for Hesston College Cross Country.
“I’m excited about the men and women on our cross country teams,” Sieber said. “It should be a good journey together. We’re off to a good start, and I’m thrilled at our increased numbers.”
Four returning sophomores anchor the men’s side: Austin Braddock, Baldwin City, Kan.; Jared Hague, Marion, Kan.; Bryce Nitzsche, Lincoln, Neb.; and Weston Warner, Wichita, Kan.
The women’s team returns three sophomores: Kenzie Johnson, Olathe, Kan.; Anna Penner, Macksville, Kan.; and Mary Peters, Ashkum, Ill.
“Our men’s team will compete at a similar level of previous teams,” Sieber said. “Our women’s side is much improved and should be much more competitive.”
Sieber highlights the Larks Sept. 12 meet at Hutchinson (Kan.) CC and the Sept. 25 meet at NCAA, Div. II Emporia (Kan.) State University as exciting challenges for his squads.
Hesston College women’s cross country coach Gerry Sieber announces Emma Schrock, a senior at Bear Creek High School, Lakewood, Colo., as the newest addition to the Larks program.
“Emma has been active in a variety of sports and activities in her life,” Sieber said. “I’m confident that as she focuses on endurance training she will adapt well to the sport.”
Schrock is the daughter of Brad and Katrina Schrock, Lakewood. She attends First Mennonite Church, Denver, and is active in the youth group there.
Hesston College women’s cross country coach Gerry Sieber announces Renee Buckwalter, a senior at Iowa Mennonite School, Kalona, as the newest addition to the Larks program.
A two-time all-conference runner, Buckwalter participated in the Iowa state cross country meet in 2011 and 2014. She was an academic all-state selection as a senior. An honor roll student, Buckwalter is deciding her major at Hesston.
“Rene has been on my radar ever since she burst onto the scene at IMS her freshman year,” Sieber said. “Under the excellent tutelage of IMS coach Marty Gingerich she has become a well-seasoned and savvy runner and will have an instant impact on our team.”
Buckwalter is the daughter of Tom and Paula Buckwalter, Wellman, Iowa. She attends Wellman Mennonite Church and is active in the youth group there.
Hesston College women’s cross country coach Gerry Sieber announces Becky Jensen, a senior at Rossville (Kan.) High School, and Kaitlyn Shaw, a senior at Newton (Kan.) High School as the newest additions to the Larks program.
A team captain and four-year letter-winner in both cross country and track at Rossville High, Jensen was state champion in both the 4×400 and 4×800 relays.
A National Honor Society member, Jensen will study nursing at Hesston.
“Becky brings to Hesston College a good resume of performances in track and cross country,” Sieber said. “A good athlete with a passion for running, she will compete well in college and will be a real asset to our team. We’re excited to get a runner of her caliber.”
Jensen is the daughter of Jon and Paula Jensen, Topeka, Kan.
Shaw, a varsity letter-winner for Newton High cross country, adds to an impressive recruiting class for the Larks. A National Honor Society member and Honor Roll student, she will study nursing at Hesston.
“Kaitlyn has a good background in cross country in a strong Newton High program,” Sieber said. “Her experience and knowledge with the sport will enable her to adapt well to college cross country. I’m looking forward to her contributions.”
Shaw is the daughter of John and Tamara Shaw, Newton. She attends Newspring Church, Wichita.
Hesston College women’s cross country coach Gerry Sieber Hannah Heidebrecht, a senior at Minnetonka (Minn.) High School, as the newest addition to the Larks program.
Heidebrecht posted a personal best outdoor mile of 5:45 and a 2-mile best of 13:29.5 for Minnetonka High. An Honor Roll student, she will study nursing at Hesston.
“Hannah is a great recruit for our team,” Sieber said. “She’s an enthusiastic, disciplined and goal oriented lady with a passion for running. Hannah will bring good leadership and work ethic to our team and will compete very well at our level.”
Heidebrecht attends Ridgewood Baptist Church, Minnetonka, and is involved in a variety of church activities there. She is the daughter of John and Wanda Heidebrecht, Excelsior, Minn.
Hesston College women’s cross country coach Gerry Sieber announces Eva Dwyer, a senior at Northridge High School, Goshen, Ind., as the newest addition to the Larks program.
Dwyer has a personal best of 21:08 in the 5K and a 5:47 outdoor mile for Northridge High. A Scholar Athlete at Northridge High, Dwyer will study communications at Hesston.
“Eva comes to us with a good background in distance running at a strong high school program,” Sieber said. “Her experience and enthusiasm for running will be a real asset for our team. I’m excited to have her on board.”
Dwyer is the daughter of Meghan and Sam Miller, Goshen, Ind., and Kris Verash, Mishawaka. She attends College Mennonite Church, Goshen, and is active in the youth group there.
Hesston College women’s cross country coach Gerry Sieber announces Madi Rickabaugh, a senior at South Central High School, Coldwater, Kan., as the newest addition to the Larks program.
A three-sport athlete at South Central High, Rickabaugh participates in volleyball, track and cross country.
“I’m excited about Madi’s decision to join our women’s cross country team,” Sieber said. “She ran well at the state meet and placed in the top half of the competition. Madi will contribute a very caring, positive and inclusive dynamic to our team.”
A National Honor Society member, Superintendent Honor Roll selection and Hesston College dean’s scholar, Rickabaugh will study pre-med at Hesston.
Rickabaugh is the daughter of Paul and Andra Rickabaugh, Wilmore, Kan. She attends Protection (Kan.) Mennonite Church and serves as kindergarten teacher for Wednesday night Bible club.
Hesston College women’s cross country coach Gerry Sieber announces Mackenzie Johnson, a senior from Olathe (Kan.) South High School, as the newest addition to the Larks program.
A three-sport athlete at Olathe South High, Johnson participated in cross country, track and volleyball. An Honor Roll student, she will study nursing at Hesston.
“I expect Kenzie to adapt well and make a good contribution to our women’s cross country team,” Sieber said. “She comes from a nice, supportive family. I’m looking forward to having Kenzie in our cross country family.”
Johnson is the daughter of Todd and Cindy Johnson, Olathe. She attends Olathe Life Church.
Hesston College women’s cross country coach Gerry Sieber announces Anna Penner, a senior from Mackville (Kan.) High School, as the newest addition to the Larks program.
Penner was a key part of Mackville’s 2013 team that won sub-state and finished as 1A state runners-up.
A National Honor Society member, Kansas Honors Scholar and Superintendent Honor Roll member, Penner earned Academic all-State recognition her junior year. She will study early childhood education at Hesston.
“I’m excited Anna has chosen to join our cross country family at Hesston College,” Sieber said. “She’s a solid runner, a fine person and a good student. I expect Anna will provide good leadership for our women’s program.”
Penner is the daughter of Henry and Margaretha Penner, Macksville. She attends Trousdale United Methodist Church, Haviland, Kan.
The 2013 Hesston College men’s and women’s cross country teams were recently recognized for their outstanding academic achievements this past fall. According to the NJCAA Cross Country Coaches Association, both Hesston programs finished in the top twenty of the national academic team standings.
Hesston’s men’s program recorded an impressive 3.534 team mark, good for eighth nationally. The women’s program finished 19th in the country with a 3.367 average. Sophomore Mitchell Martin (Milford, Neb.) received Academic All-American status and led both programs with a 4.0 grade point average. Receiving Academic All-American recognition on the women’s team are sophomores Sierra Wyse (Mt. Pleasant, Iowa) and Hannah Weaver (Inola, Okla.).
“I continue to be impressed with Hesston College students, and in particular my cross country runners, with how much they accomplish,” said Hesston cross country coach Gerry Sieber. “Despite having so much else going on in their lives they have the discipline, time management and organizational skills to take care of business in the classroom. That’s the Hesston Experience – well rounded, well educated, well prepared and self-assured students who are prepared for their next step.”
The Hesston College women’s cross country team ran in the Tabor College Invitational held at Harvey County East Lake on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Sophomore Hannah Weaver (Inola, Okla.) led the way with a 22:57.37 in the 5K, good for a 7:23.4 average mile and a 29th overall finish among 60 runners. Melissa Miller (Hutchinson, Kan.) placed 34th overall with a 23:52.62 (7:41.2 average mile).
Up next for the Larks is a trip to Overland Park, Kan. for a meet hosted by Johnson County CC, starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4.