Women’s Cross Country News Archive 2014-2015

Women’s cross country signs South Central High senior to letter-of-intent

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.

Women’s cross country adds Olathe (Kan.) South senior

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.

Women’s cross country signs Macksville (Kan.) senior

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.

Cross Country achieves high academic mark

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.”



Weaver leads Hesston runners at Tabor Invitational

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.

Hesston College Women’s Cross County ready to run

Veteran Hesston College Cross Country Coach Gerry Sieber is eager to begin a new year for the Larks. Since Cross Country’s reintroduction in 2010, Sieber has built a successful program that has produced some of the best student athletes on the Hesston campus. Last year, both the men’s and women’s program finished in the top two of the NJCAA Cross Country Coaches Association academic team standings, with the women earning a national-best 3.915 team grade point average.

“Our team is excited about the challenges of a new season,” Sieber said. “There’s a good core of sophomores who are solid runners and great people. They’ll provide great experience and leadership for our team.”

The women’s team, led by returners Hannah Weaver, Inola, Okla.; Amy Repp, Valley Center, Kan.; and Sierra Wyse, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, provides good leadership for the roster of seven.

“If our women stay healthy and run to their potential, I’m optimistic they may be able to compete as well as last year’s nationally-ranked team,” Sieber said.

The 2013 schedule includes six regular season meets, including four within 50 miles of the Hesston campus. Another highlight of the season will be the program’s annual fall break trip to Colorado, offering Hesston runners the opportunity for altitude training, team building and sightseeing.

“After running hundreds of miles on the flat prairie of Kansas throughout the early fall, running in the mountains offers a welcome contrast,” Sieber said. “I know our students will benefit from this trip.”

Hesston Cross Country continues high academic standard

The 2012 Hesston College men’s and women’s cross country teams were recently recognized for their outstanding academic achievements during the 2012 season. According to the NJCAA Cross Country Coaches Association, both Hesston programs finished in the top two of the national academic team standings.

Hesston’s men’s program recorded an impressive 3.833 team mark, falling just short of the number one overall ranking. The women’s program finished even higher, earning a national-best 3.915 team grade point average. Each team had three members who earned a 4.0 grade point average.

On the heels of last year’s academic success (both programs finished with top ten team rankings), it’s evident Coach Gerry Sieber’s Larks have set a high academic standard. Hesston Cross Country thrived on the course in 2012, too, as both teams were nationally ranked at times throughout the season.

“When you consider all of the intangible elements of this achievement, it is rather remarkable,” Sieber said. “Our student-athletes have a lot on their plates besides their sport and classes. Most have campus jobs, some serve in other roles such as resident assistants, ministry assistants and student ambassadors.”

Receiving Academic All-American recognition on the women’s team are Jenae Hershberger (Goshen, Ind.), Michelle Moyer (Monticello, Ill.), Becca Slabaugh (Goshen, Ind.), Kayla Stevenson (Meade, Kan.), Hannah Weaver (Inola, Okla.) and Sierra Wyse (Mt. Pleasant, Iowa). Representing the men as Academic All-Americans are Hugo Chavez (Brownsville, Texas), Jacob Landis (Sterling, Ill.), Josh Landis (Sterling, Ill.), Mitchell Martin (Milford, Neb.) and Jerek Shoemaker (Newton, Kan.).

“This academic accomplishment is a testament to the culture of the college and to the kind of people who make Hesston College a special place,” Sieber added. “Everyone on Hesston’s campus has contributed to our runners’ success. This is the epitome of the Hesston Experience—the symbiosis of contributing to and being recipients of the educational community here.”

Landis, Moyer compete at National Cross Country meet

Two Hesston College runners, sophomore Jacob Landis (Sterling, Ill.) and freshman Michelle Moyer (Monticello, Ill.), recently competed in the NJCAA cross country national meet, held Nov. 10 at Rend Lake Community College (Ina, Ill.).

Landis capped a spectacular Hesston career by finishing 86th among 287 runners. The sophomore averaged a 5:37 mile for a time of 28:03.8 in the men’s 8k.

Moyer, the unmistakable leader of the Hesston women’s team this year, averaged a 6:49 mile and finished 121st out of 295 total runners. Her overall time was 21:07.1 in the 5k race.

“Michelle and Jacob had outstanding cross country seasons,” said Hesston Coach Gerry Sieber. “Both had a great careers and will be hard to replace. Not only did they perform well but they gave invaluable leadership to our cross country program as team captains.”

Sieber sees positives as cross country season ends

The Hesston College men’s and women’s cross country teams ended its regular seasons on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the NJCAA Region VI meet, hosted by Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, Kan.). There were 15 NJCAA institutions represented at the meet.

The Hesston women finished seventh overall with 188 points, just 5 points shy of Hutchinson CC, ranked 21st in the latest NJCAA national poll. The Hesston men finished 11th overall.

Michelle Moyer (Monticello, Ill) and Jenae Hershberger (Goshen, Ind.) led the way for the Hesston women, finishing 24th (20:36) and 31st (20:59) among 89 runners. Hannah Weaver (Inola, Okla.) and Amy Repp (Valley Center, Kan.) finished in 21:21 and 21:29, respectively. 

Jacob and Josh Landis (Sterling, Ill.) paced the men with finishes of 25th (26:37) and 65th (28:30). Mitchell Martin (Milford, Neb.) and Luke Ropp (Inman, Kan.) checked in at 29:02 and 29:07.

“Both teams ran their best races of the year,” said Hesston coach Gery Sieber. “This was the strongest performance yet for any Hesston College women’s team. They had the all-time best region finish and best average 5k time. The men’s team also ended on a very positive note. Every runner except one had his best performance of the year.”

The Hesston cross country teams enjoyed growth in its 3rd year of existence, with both teams receiving national rankings throughout the season.

The women’s team was ranked at four different occasions in NJCAA polls, including a program-best national ranking of 17th in September. The men’s team cracked the NJCAA top-25 poll twice this season.

“Overall, it was another good cross country season for a young program,” Sieber said. “We had plenty of young runners and I’m proud of what they accomplished.”

Moyer leads Hesston women in Haskell 5K

The Hesston College women’s cross country team finished ninth among 12 schools on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Haskell Indian Nations University (Lawrence, Kan.). Hesston runners averaged a 21:34.32 in the 5K.

Larks freshman Michelle Moyer (Monticello, Ill.) placed 33rd overall (out of 107 runners) with a time of 20:43.02 (6:40.1/average mile). Sophomore Janae Hershberger (Goshen, Ind.) ran a solid 20:54.0 (6:43.7/average mile), good for 37th overall, while Amy Repp (Valley Center, Kan.), also a sophomore, bounced back after missing three days of practice to record a 21:50.46 (7:01.8).

Hesston has a week off from competition during fall break but will travel to Colorado for high altitude training and team building.

Hesston women record stellar individual times at Emporia State

The Hesston College women’s cross country team finished 11th among 18 schools in Friday’s (Sept. 28) meet at Emporia (Kan.) State University. More importantly, each Hesston runner recorded her season-best time in a 5K race this year. The Larks finished 3rd among Junior Colleges.

Freshman Michelle Moyer’s (Monticello, Ill.) time of 20:21.90 led all Hesston runners and placed her 47th among 148 runners. Janae Hershberger (Goshen, Ind.) finished 64th overall with a time of 20:52. Hesston runners averaged 21:11.08.

“It was very exciting and encouraging to see every one of our women record season-best times,” said Hesston coach Gerry Sieber. “This serves as a yard stick for the team’s progress and hopefully our performances will help us move up in the 25 national rankings.”

The Larks compete on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Haskel Indian Nations University (Lawrence, Kan.) beginning at 9 a.m.






Larks run well at Tabor Invite

The Hesston College women’s cross country team placed sixth among eight schools in the competitive Tabor College (Hillsboro, Kan.) Invite on Friday, Sept. 22.

Freshman Michelle Moyer (Monticello, Ill.) led Hesston with a time of 20:38.16 in the 5K, good for 18th place, while sophomore Jenae Hershberger (Goshen, Ind.) finished 28th with a 21:22.31.

“Many of our runners ran better than their personal performances in the season, which was very encouraging,” said Hesston coach Gerry Sieber. “Our women’s team set a school record for the average 5k time for the top five runners, breaking the old record by 30 seconds. I thought Amy (Repp) and Hanna (Weaver) showed substantial improvement.”

Ranked 22nd in the country by the latest NJCAA poll, the Larks head to Emporia (Kan.) State University on Friday, Sept. 28 for their next meet, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Sieber leads young runners into new season

Hesston College cross country coach Gerry Sieber is optimistic that his group of young runners can duplicate, if not surpass, the success enjoyed by last year’s teams. Heading into the fall, Sieber will rely on a roster of 19 – 11 men and eight women – of which just five competed for Hesston last year.

The men’s team is led by sophomore Jacob Landis, Sterling, Ill., who finished 13th in last year’s regional championship meet. Landis capped off a stellar freshman campaign with a tremendous showing at nationals, finishing 44th among 290 runners. Landis, along with Luke Ropp, Inman, Kan., will serve as team captains.

“Our men’s team potential right now is unknown,” Sieber said. “It will be exciting to see how this young team develops.”

Michelle Moyer, a freshman from Monticello, Ill., will captain a women’s team that Sieber believes can be better than last year’s nationally-ranked Larks squad.

“Our women have the potential, I believe, to be a little stronger than last year’s team,” Sieber said. “It’s a very encouraging way to start the season considering we were a pretty competitive bunch last year.”

Sieber has again put together a challenging schedule for the Larks, featuring competition against NCAA Division I and II foes. Local NJCAA Region VI competition, arguably the strongest region in the country, offers even more opportunities for Hesston runners to shine at a high level.

The Larks first meet is Saturday, Sept. 1, when Hesston competes in the Wichita (Kan.) State University Gold Classic.


Inaugural Hesston College Athletes of the Year named at annual sports banquet

Three Hesston College student athletes were named Athletes of the Year at the college’s annual sports banquet Tuesday, April 24. The recipients were freshman Pierre Zook, McMinnville, Ore., a guard on the men’s basketball team; sophomore Krista Rittenhouse, Mt. Pleasant, Pa., a women’s cross country runner; and sophomore Emily Wagner-Davis, Roseville, Calif., an outfielder on the softball team.

The award was created to recognize an outstanding male and female student athlete each year. Hesston coaches were able to nominate one of their players for the award, with votes from the entire department determining the winners. Rittenhouse and Wagner-Davis tied for Female Athlete of the Year in this year’s voting.

The new award, which recognizes excellence on the field, in the classroom, in the dorms and campus community, was created by a desire from the athletics department to acknowledge the outstanding men and women who represent Hesston College through athletics.

“Athletics play a pivotal role at Hesston College,” said athletic director Joel Kauffman. “We’re proud of what our student athletes contribute to our college, both in the athletic venue and around our campus and community. Pierre, Krista and Emily are excellent examples of the type of athletes we look for at Hesston College.”

Zook led the nation in three-pointers with 127, setting a career mark in that category at Hesston. As a captain, he averaged more than 20 points per game and will lead a strong returning class for the Larks in 2012-13.

“Pierre continues to grow and be challenged while challenging others,” said Hesston men’s basketball coach Dustin Galyon. “He pursues his life with integrity and is a terrific leader, and I’m excited to see what he can do next year.”

Rittenhouse capped off an outstanding career by representing the Larks at the NJCAA National Cross Country Championship Race in Hobbs, N.M., in November, finishing 47th out of 268 runners with a time of 20:53.57. A team captain, Rittenhouse was a 2011-12 Academic All-American.

“It has been a pleasure to coach Krista the last two years,” said Hesston cross country coach Gerry Sieber. She brought an infectious enthusiasm for running and training which was a real gift for our team. Krista is a kind, caring, servant leader.”

Wagner-Davis, an Academic All-American, ranks second in all-time hits at Hesston College and sixth in career runs batted in. She started every game of her career with the Larks and served as team captain in 2011-12.

“Emily represents everything I look for in a Hesston College softball player,” said Hesston softball coach Andrew Sharp. “She’s a team leader, a tremendous competitor and has a heart for serving others. She will be missed.”

Hesston College women’s cross country signs Mt. Pleasant (Iowa) Community High senior Sierra Wyse

Hesston College women’s cross country coach Gerry Sieber has announced the signing of Sierra Wyse, a senior at Mt. Pleasant (Iowa) Community High School.

A Southeast Iowa Conference honorable mention player in volleyball and track in 2011, Wyse earned the Coaches Award for those sports during her junior year. She is a three-time state-qualifier in track through her junior year.

An accomplished student, Wyse received all-conference academic team honors in track her junior year. She attends Bethel Mennonite Church, Wayland, Iowa, and is active in the youth group there.

“I’m excited about Sierra’s decision to join our cross country program,” Sieber said. “Sierra was a good high school track athlete and I expect her to adapt well to cross country training and make a great contribution to our women’s program.”

Wyse is the daughter of Ron and Susan Wyse, Mt. Pleasant.