Mount Mercy's cross country teams earn Champions of Character award

The Mount Mercy men’s and women’s cross country teams have been named the 2009 Buffalo Funds Five Star Award recipients, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced. The NAIA honors only one institution nationwide for each of its 23 championship sports.

The definition of teamwork took on new meaning for the men's and women's cross country teams as they joined forces to help reshape a community still struggling with flood recovery.

It’s the second year in a row that a Mount Mercy team has earned this prestigious award, which honors coaches and student-athletes who exhibit exceptional character values. Teams that receive this award demonstrate exemplary character values in and out of competition. The Mustang volleyball squad was honored in 2008.

“The Sisters of Mercy and their commitment to service embody the entire Mount Mercy
community,” said Athletic Director Scot Reisinger. “While we are proud of all of our teams that participate in service with the community, we are proud of our cross country teams for receiving this honor.”

The Mustang cross country teams battled adversity on and off the field of competition
throughout the 2009 season, but overcame it with great leadership and commitment from
veterans and newcomers alike. They shared those traits with a Cedar Rapids community still recovering from the floods of 2008. On two separate days, the team worked to repair flood
damaged homes and a small business.

“Character speaks to the core of this team and its athletes,” said Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach Ryan Scheckel ’01. “That character is found in our teams’ chemistry and starts with the captains and runs through the freshmen. Along with hard work and focus, character forms a bond that continues with our student-athletes as alumni and allows them to
strive for excellence in all areas of life.”