Ortiz Caps Stellar Season with All-Region Honor
DUBUQUE, Iowa - Junior Fabiola Ortiz had her best season for the University of Dubuque women's cross country team after breaking the school record, becoming an All-IIAC selection for the second straight season, and claiming NCAA All-Region honors while missing out on the Division III National meet by less than one second. Former assistant and first-year head coach, Geoff Gundlach, and Ortiz led the Spartans to a seventh-place showing at the Iowa Conference Championships hosted by Loras at the Dubuque soccer complex.
Ortiz placed third at the Iowa Conference Championships in a time of 23:42 and became the only Spartan woman in history to earn First Team All-IIAC honors for a second time. The historic feat came a little over a month removed from her school record time of 22:25 set in a fourth-place showing at Grinnell's Les Duke Invitational. Ortiz crushed the old record by over 13 seconds and added to her list of UD accolades.
In the final meet of the season, Ortiz placed 12th at the Division III Central Regional and placed behind a pair of IIAC runners for the final two individual representatives from the region. As it was, the top two teams at the Regional meet automatically qualified for Nationals with the next seven runners qualifying for the National meet who are not on qualifying Regional teams. Ortiz's time of 22:51.7 was just behind the 22:51.0 of 11th place.
Backing up Ortiz was junior Kiersten Wenthold, sophomore Kayla Kinateder, sophomore Kristin Mackenburg, freshman Abby Ray, sophomore Katrina Pagel, and sophomore Bobbi Jo Helgemoe. Wenthold was a consistent No. 2 threat throught the season and was the Spartans lead runner in their season-opening meet at the Central College Invitational on September 5.
The Spartans claimed their highest team finish of the year with a second-place showing at Wisconsin Lutheran's Warrior Invitational on October 3. Ortiz collected her unofficial first win of her career after placing second to an unattached runner while Wenthold claimed her highest finish of the year in 11th.
"I believe our ladies persevered through some unexpected set backs this year to evolve as a group, and enjoyed our time together fighting for improvement," first-year Head Coach Geoff Gundlach said. "I think they all have a resounding appreciation and love for one another and want to continue to grow and earn our progress as a group. It was tough at times, but their camaraderie and enjoyment for one another made for a tremendous environment at practice and at meets this year.
In the classroom, the Spartans impressed with six of their consistent varsity members receiving Academic All-IIAC recognition.
Seniors were a non-factor for the Spartans as every runner returns from this year's squad.
Academic All-Iowa Conference
Bobbi Jo Helgemoe
2014 Cross Country Team
Front Row: Grace Voelliger, Samantha Holen, Skylar Brooks, Kristin Kinateder, Melissa Todman, Kristin Mackenburg, Fabiola Ortiz, and Katie Oliver.
Second Row: Bobbi Jo Helgemoe, Rachael Busjahn, Brittany Burns, Kiersten Wenthold, Sybbie Sears, and Madison Montgomery.
Third Row: Erik DeMaegd, Alex Bass, Jordan Murray, Jonathan Berland, Matt Zittrisch, Jack Lindsay, Ames Helzer, and Payton Nevills.
Fourth Row: Serigne Sarr, Joel Avila, Nick Dolan, David Ploenzke, Tyler Peugh, and Aaron Ofosu.
Back Row: Isaac Hernandez, Remington Meggers, Donovan Ball, Asst. Coach Geoff Gundlach, Head Coach Chad Gunnelson.
The Spartans finished fifth place at the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) Championships to match their best finish in school history set in 2012. The 139 points accumulated was the Spartans best point total ever. Sophomore Fabiola Ortiz paced UD throughout the season and became the second Spartan to earn First Team All-IIAC honors after a sixth place finish at the IIAC Championships. Ortiz’s time of 22:53 is second all-time in UD history and broke her previous best of 23:05, set at the Warrior Invite earlier in the year.
Ortiz’s third place finish at the Warrior Invite secured a second place team showing at the 14-team Warrior Invite on October 4. The Spartans best finish of the year was aided by a pair of veterans, seniors Brenda Nava and Rachael Busjahn, and two freshmen, Skylar Brooks and Kristin Mackenburg. Nava was a staple as the primary number two runner throughout the year and set her final personal record (24:10), good for eighth all-time in UD history, at the NCAA Division III Central Regionals. Busjahn, the multi-event specialist on the track, capped her career at Regionals and set a personal course record by over 30 seconds.
Nava and Busjahn were the first of many personal records set at Regionals after nearly every UD varsity runner set a personal course or personal overall record at the Central College cross country course in the A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex. The Spartans improved to 18th place, up five spots from a year ago, with a bright future on the horizon. Besides the trio of seniors, Nava, Busjahn, and Sam Holen (Top-20 all-time, 25:07), the remaining varsity spots were occupied by underclassmen throughout the year.
"We had a good mix of experienced women who were used to being counted on for scoring, combined with relatively inexperienced sophomores, and freshmen who worked hard, got better, and were entrenched in our Top-10 runners all year," said Assistant Coach Geoff Gundlach. "It was neat to see how this group could come together to challenge one another to improve. It was the hardest working group we have had in the last four years of this program and it showed quite a bit. We were proud of this group's consistent mentality, passion, enthusiasm, and improvement."
All-Iowa Conference Finishers
Fabiola Ortiz (6th place at IIAC Championships)
All-IIAC Academic Honorees (*Senior)
Samantha Holen*, Nikki McKenzie*, Kiersten Wenthold
2013 Cross Country Team
Front row: Head Coach Chad Gunnelson, Kiersten Wenthold, Melissa Todman, Fabiola Ortiz, Madison Montgomery, Brenda Breimon, Nickolette McKenzie, Sam Holen, Brittany Burns, Brenda Nava, Chantel Christiansen, and Asst. Coach Geoff Gundlach.
Back Row: Emanuel Huerta-Gutierrez, Jonathan Berland, David Ploenzke, Devante Miller, Mitchell Federspiel, Ryan Mattingly, Tyler Peugh, Blair Burdt, Payton Nevills, and Jordan Murray.
The University of Dubuque Women's Cross Country team finished in seventh place at the 2013 Iowa Conference Championships with freshman Fabiola Ortiz leading the way in 26th place. Juniors Rachael Busjahn and Brenda Nava were the Spartans top finisher in three races each. The Spartans top performance of the season came at the Dr. Tucker Invite with six student-athletes running personal best times. Busjahn led the way with the ninth fastest time in school history at 24:20.4. Ortiz was close behind at 24:28.1 for the tenth fastest time in school history.
Brenda Breimon, Samantha Holen, Nickolette McKenzie, and Brenda Nava earned Academic All-Iowa Conference. The UD women's team earned the USTFCCCA Academic Team Award for the sixth straight year.
2012 Cross Country Team
Front row: Beth Michaelis, Tiesha Starks, Ranita Anderson, Samantha Holen, Kassie Wallner, Megan Bloedow, Victoria Adriano, Brenda Nava, and Asst. Coach Isaiah Jenzen.
Second Row: Head Coach Chad Gunnelson, Nickolette McKenzie, Kelley Hauber, Abby Green, Rachael Busjahn, Kayla Starnes, Kelly Lesniak, Ashley Sadewasser, Leigha Hodge, and Asst. Coach Tracy Demerath.
Third Row: Asst. Coach Geoff Gundlach, Magnus Yancy, Payton Nevils, Jordan Murray, Blair Burdt, Eric Jones, and Javier Rodriguez.
Fourth Row: David Ploenzke, Matthew Zittritsch, Jeremiah Camp, Tyler Andreae, Luke Elsbernd, and Jake Robertson.
Back Row: Darin Bohl, Benjamin Hempfling, Brandon Barry, David Martin, and Austin George.
The University of Dubuque Women's Cross Country team finished in fifth place at the 2012 Iowa Conference Championships. Senior Megan Bloedow was the top Spartan finisher in seven of eight races. Senior Beth Michaelis led UD at the DIII Central Region Championships. Bloedow ran the fastest 6k time of the year for UD at 23:57.9 at the Wisconsin Lutheran Warrior Invite. Dubuque placed two runners in the Top 5 at the Spartan Igniter with Bloedow (3rd) and Michaelis (5th). Bloedow also finished third at the Dr. Tucker Invite.
Samantha Holen, Brenda Nava, and Bethany Michaelis earned Academic All-Iowa Conference. The Spartans women's team earned the USTFCCCA Academic Team Award for the fifth straight year.
2011 Cross Country Team
Front Row: Brenda Nava, Angelina Edwards, Kaylee Carter, Rachael Busjahn, Ashley Sadewasser, Beth Michaelis, Megan Bloedow, and Sydney Vasquez.
Middle Row: Brandon Barry, Jeremiah Ziebert, John Easley, John Aber, Jed Omernick, Luke Elsbernd, and Eric Jones.
Back Row: Asst. Coach Isaiah Janzen, Head Coach Chad Gunnelson, and Asst. Coach Geoff Gundlach.
The University of Dubuque Women's Cross Country team finished in eighth place at the 2011 Iowa Conference Championships. Junior Megan Bloedow was the top Spartan finisher in three of the six races. Bloedow also finished with the top 6K time of the year for UD at 24:59.5 at the IIAC Championships.
Kaylee Carter and Bethany Michaelis earned Academic All-Iowa Conference. As a team, UD earned the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team Award for the fourth straight year.
2010 Cross Country Team Roster
Women: Megan Bloedow, Kaylee Carter, Melissa Englert, Courtney Frederick, Beth Michaelis, Megan Michaelis, Jennifer Oster, and Aysa Sellers.
Men: Adam Ahlden, Nick Burgmeier, Oscar Corona, Luke Elsbernd, Aaron Ewinger, Freddy Frick, Brad McGrath, and Joe Stevens
Head Coach Matt Hayes.
The University of Dubuque Women's Cross Country team finished in eighth place at the 2010 Iowa Conference Championships. Sophomore Bethany Michaelis was the top Spartan finisher in four of the six races. Senior Megan Michaelis recorded the fastest 6K time of the year for UD with a 23:49.0 at the UW-Oshkosh Invite.
Melissa Englert, Bethany Michaelis, and Megan Michaelis earned Academic All-Iowa Conference. As a team, UD earned the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team Award for the third consecutive year.
2009 Cross Country Team Roster
Women: Megan Bloedow, Kaylee Carter, Vanessa Cocom, Chelsea Kemp, Beth Michaelis, Megan Michaelis, Kelsey Rursch, and Katie Tipping.
Men: Adam Ahlden, Nick Barker, James Blacks, Oscar Corona, Aaron Ewinger, Freddy Frick, Cory Grandon, and Michael Wilhite.
Head Coach: Matt Hayes.
The University of Dubuque Women's Cross Country team finished in seventh place at the 2009 Iowa Conference Championships. The Spartans had a balanced squad throughout the year with freshman Chelsea Kemp leading UD in three races, freshman Beth Michaelis leading in two races and junior Megan Michaelis in two races. Kemp recorded the fastest 6K time of the year for UD with a 24:17.3 at the NCAA Division III Central Region Championships. The Spartans effort at regionals earned them the honor of Most Improved Team in the Central Region.
Megan Michaelis and Kelsey Rursch earned Academic All-Iowa Conference. As a team, Dubuque earned the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team award for the second straight year.
2008 Cross Country Team
Front Row: Sarah Schumacher, Katie Tipping, Jennelle Vega, Megan Michaelis, Maxie Blasini, Kelsey Rursch, and Anne Marx.
Middle Row: Head Coach Matt Hayes, Aaron Ewinger, Freddy Frick, Andrew Beneby, Adam Ahlden, Jon Erickson, and Asst. Coach David Thompson.
Back Row: Thomas Goad, ??, ??, and ??.
The University of Dubuque Women's Cross Country team finished in eighth place at the 2008 Iowa Conference Championships. Sophomore Megan Michaelis was the top Spartan finisher in five of the seven races. Senior Sarah Schumach recorded the fastest 6K time of the year for UD with a 25:26.60 at the IIAC Championships. At the Central Region Championships, freshman Katie Tipping paced the Spartans with a 28:06.2 time.
Megan Michaelis and Sarah Schumacher earned Academic All-Iowa Conference. As a team, UD earned its first USTFCCCA All-Academic Team Award since 1997.
2007 Cross Country Team
Front Row: ??, John Salwolke, Megan Michaelis, Caroline Zelent, Jon Erickson, and Aaron Ewinger.
Back Row: Head Coach Katie Meyer, Andres Verduzco, Matt Curoe, ??, Freddy Frick, Thomas Goad, Josh Feehan, and Justin Carlson.
The University of Dubuque Women's Cross Country team did not record a team score at the 2007 Iowa Conference Championships. Senior Caroline Zelent was the top Spartan finisher in four of the five races. Zelent also recorded the fastest 6K time of the year for UD with a 24:05 at the Brissman/Lundeen Invite. At the Central Region Championships, Zelent paced the Spartans with a 24:44 time. Freshman Megan Michaelis led the Spartans at the IIAC Championships with a 28:02.1 finishing time.
Jessica Glidden, Ashley Willyard, and Caroline Zelent each earned Academic All-Iowa Conference. Zelent also earned Second Team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District.
2006 Cross Country Team
Women: Elizabeth Delp, Allison George, Keisha Morgan, Tenisha Reeder, Brooke Russell, Martha Sherrahn, Kate Swift, Ashley Willyard, and Caroline Zelent.
Men: Cory Alsip, Kyle Anderson, Jarrad Butz, Justin Carlson, Jon Erickson, Josh Feehan, Thomas Goad, Jason Groth, Jason Hintzke, Jake Matzen, David McAlexander, Ryan McAvoy, and Andres Verduzco.
Head Coach: Katie Meyer.
The University of Dubuque Women's Cross Country team finished in ninth place at the 2006 Iowa Conference Championships. Junior Caroline Zelent was the top Spartan finisher in all seven races. Zelent recorded the fastest 6K time of the year for UD with a 24:48.47 at the Central Region Championships and won the Pioneer Cross Country Open at UW-Platteville.
Brooke Russell, Ashley Willyard, and Caroline Zelent earned Academic All-Iowa Conference.