Fall Sports Wrap-Up

The Mount Mercy women’s cross country team claimed its third straight league title and qualified for the NAIA national meet for the second time in school history, winning the 2008 Midwest Collegiate Conference Championships on Nov. 8 at Ewing Park in Des Moines.

Three Mustangs placed in the top 10 as Mount Mercy won the seventh conference title since the program began in 1991. Sophomore Kori Yotter (Wapello, Iowa/Wapello H.S.) received all-conference honors for the second year in a row, finishing third in the women’s 5K with a time of 20:22. Sophomore Erin Behan (Independence, Iowa/Independence H.S.) was eighth in 20:37, freshman Kara Danielsen (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) placed ninth in 20:44.

Mount Mercy took first place with 46 points, followed by St. Ambrose with 51. Grand View’s Obsie Birru was the 2008 MCC Women’s Harrier of the Year, ending Mount Mercy’s 11-year stranglehold on the award honoring the women’s individual champion. Mount Mercy’s Ryan Scheckel ’01 was named MCC Women’s Coach of the Year for the third time.

“The women were not picked to win the conference meet, and it took the entire squad to win,” said Scheckel. “I think that says a lot about the team and the focus they put on that championship meet.”

The Mount Mercy women finished 29th out of 32 teams at the NAIA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 22. All seven runners posted their best times of the season, led by Yotter, who placed 106th out of 327 runners in 19:27. “At nationals, we ran better than expected when you look at our times in the 5K, and none of our runners had competed at the national meet before,” said Scheckel. “Many competitors don’t perform well in their first appearance, but we did, and the team will not lose anyone heading into next season.”

The Mount Mercy men were runner-up at the MCC Championships, finishing 15 points behind league champion St. Ambrose. Freshman Mike Miroux (Spring Valley, Ill./Hall H.S.), a three-time MCC Men’s Runner of the Week this fall, was all-conference for the Mustang men after a third-place finish with a time of 27:52 in the 8K. His performance also earned him an individual berth at the NAIA Cross Country Championships. Miroux is the fourth men’s runner in school history to qualify for nationals.

At nationals, Miroux ran the second-fastest time in school history in the men’s 8K, placing 116th in 26:11. “Obviously, Mike had the best season a freshman has ever had at Mount Mercy,” Scheckel said. “He’s a very motivated runner who has high expectations for himself. Mike has three more seasons with us, and it will be interesting to see where he takes us. As a team, the men took a huge step in the right direction this year.”

The Mount Mercy men’s soccer team had its most successful season in eight years, finishing 10-6-2 overall and third in the MCC with a 6-2-0 league mark. Five players were named to the 2008 all-conference teams, including first-team all- MCC defender Drago Ceranic (Belgrade, Serbia). Ceranic was one of the league’s top sweepers and also had four goals and four assists.

Honorable mention went to senior forward Nick Miller, freshman defender Denis Krdzalic, freshman midfielder Nebojsa Jevtovic, and freshman goalkeeper Nenad Simovic. Miller (Norway, Iowa/Cedar Rapids Prairie H.S.) finished with 20 goals and eight assists, setting singleseason and career records in both categories.

Seniors Katie Manning and Becky Schneider were named first-team all-conference after leading the women’s soccer team to an 8-10-1 overall record that included a 4-4-0 finish in the MCC. Manning (Rock Island, Ill./Alleman H.S.) started all 19 games in goal for the Mustangs, recording six shutouts and a 1.55 goals against average. Schneider (Rochester, Minn./Century H.S.) was one the league’s best defenders and assisted a goal. Junior midfielder Beth Samek (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Cedar Rapids Xavier H.S.) and freshman forward Mackenzie Skay (Iowa City, Iowa/City H.S.), who led the team with 12 goals and two assists, were honorable mention all-conference.

In volleyball, senior middle blocker Sarah Ryan (New Sharon, Iowa/North Mahaska H.S.) was honorable mention all-conference for the Mustangs, who were 8-32 overall and 0-8 in the MCC. She led the team in kills (354), kills per game (2.49), and total blocks (79). Ryan finished her career fifth in kills (1,114), solo blocks (109), block assists (308), and total blocks (417).