Men’s cross country wins back-to-back MCC titles

For the second year in a row, the Mount Mercy men’s cross country team dominated the MCC Championships and earned a berth to nationals, claiming five of the top 10 runners en route to its second straight league title at the Dubuque Soccer Complex.

Senior Mike Miroux became a four-time all-conference performer, finishing third in the 8K race with a time of 27:48. He was joined on the all-conference squad by teammates Patrick Kipkorir and TJ Mosbach. Kipkorir, a sophomore, placed fourth in 27:49, while Mosbach ended up fifth in 27:51.

Senior Keith Terry, sophomore Mitch Johnson and junior Bryant Rader were honorable mention all-MCC. Terry placed eighth in 28:06, Johnson ninth with a time of 28:12 and Rader 13th in 28:40.

The Mustangs cruised to the team championship with 29 points and Head Coach Ryan Scheckel ’01 picked up his third MCC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year award (2003, 2010, 2011). Runner-up St. Ambrose had 69 points, followed by Ashford (75), Grand View (96), Viterbo (119), William Penn (145) and Clarke (178).

Mount Mercy was third on the women’s side and three Mustangs qualified for the NAIA national meet. Senior Kara Danielsen was a national qualifier for the second year in a row after a sixth-place finish in the 5K with a time of 20:10 at the MCC Championships.

Sophomore Anne Bruno wasn’t far behind, placing seventh in 20:14, followed by junior Taylor Helms in eighth in 20:22. Danielsen and Bruno were all-conference, while Helms was honorable mention. Also receiving honorable mention was sophomore Stephanie Nibaur, who finished 15th with a time of 20:56.

At the NAIA Cross Country National Championships in Vancouver, Wash., Mosbach ran the second-fastest time in school history for the Mustang men and Helms was the top finisher for the Mount Mercy women.

Mosbach ran the 8K in 26:08 to finish 101st in a field of 312 runners. “We can’t be disappointed in finishing 30th overall,” said Scheckel. “Our guys ran tough, TJ ran the second-fastest time in school history and two others were under 27 minutes. We had five of seven guys run personal bests. The effort was definitely there.”

Helms was 143rd out of 323 competitors in the 5K with a time of 19:47. Danielsen, at her third national meet, came in 180th in 19:55. Bruno placed 201st with a time of 20:07 for the Mustangs.