All-IIAC Performer Ortiz Leads Spartans to Fifth Place Finish at Championships
Nov 1, 2014
INDIANOLA, Iowa - The University of Dubuque women's cross country were led by sixth place finishing and an All-Iowa Conference Performer, Fabiola Ortiz (23:18) at the 2014 Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) Cross Country Championships at Pickard Park in Indianola, Iowa.
UD bested their 180 point, 7th place performance from a year ago and showed marked improvement. They matched their best overall performance set in 2012 when they also finished 5th with 159 points.
UD's Fabiola Ortiz (23:18.0) took sixth and was the highest-finishing Spartan since Lisa Demerath took second in 2000. Ortiz and Demerath are the only two First Team All-IIAC honorees in UD history and are joined by Melissa Maestri (13th place, 2003) and Caroline Zelent (14th place, 2005) as the only All-IIAC performers overall. Her First Team All-IIAC performance should come as no surprise after a consistent season on a multitude of varying courses. Her 6k times have only wavered 19 seconds (23:05-23:24) in five of her six total races.
Backing up Ortiz was Brenda Nava (36th overall, 24:48), Rachael Busjahn (41st, 24:51), freshman Sybbie Sears (65th, 25:47), freshman Kristin Mackenburg (66th, 25:48), Kiersten Wenthold (72nd, 26:05), and freshman Skylar Brooks (73rd, 26:07).
Assistant coach Geoff Gundlach applauded his team's toughness and improved finish.
"The women were very aggressive early and it made them work extremely hard in the latter miles to hang on. They all are tough ladies and earned as solid a team finish as we have ever had at the IIAC meet. It is a great group and our staff is very, very proud of them," said Gundlach.
Head Coach Chad Gunnelson shared Gundlach’s sentiment and sees a bright future on the horizon.
“We talked a lot this weekend with the team about perspective. They are in the best shape of their lives and accomplishing more than they've ever done before and more than this program has ever done. Today shouldn't have been any different. And it wasn't. They competed well. We are very proud of each and every one of our Spartans,” said Coach Gunnelson.All eight schools take next weekend off before reconvening in Pella on November 15 for the NCAA Division III Central Region Championships* on Central's on-campus course at the Kuyper Athletic Complex.
*NATIONAL QUALIFYING: The Regional meet is one of eight regionals taking place across the country. The top two teams from each region automatically qualify for the National meet with 16 at-large teams to be determined later for a total of 32 teams. After teams have been determined, 56 additional individuals per gender are selected to compete at the NCAA Championships. From those teams NOT selected in the above process, the top seven finishers at each regional are automatically selected.