With many of the top runners for North Central College’s men’s cross country team getting an extended rest before Friday’s Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind., other runner have had a chance to shine.
Last Friday, it was junior Brent Gaither’s time in the sun. He led the Cardinals to the team title at the College of DuPage Invitational at St. James Farm in Winfield, winning the race in 25:38 and shaving a minute off his time on the same course just a week earlier.
For his efforts, he was named the CCIW Cross Country Runner of the Week, the third Cardinal to earn that distinction so far this season. John Crain and Aron Sebhat also have been honored.
“That’s what I was talking about with the guys, to have a new front line and have a new person get in there and get some recognition, it’s tremendous reinforcement,” NCC coach Al Carius said. “It’s the best he’s ever looked in a cross country race and he ran a great race and he had an excellent result. To get recognized for that is great.”
The full lineup will be on display Friday in South Bend when the Cardinals participate in the Gold Division race at 2:45 p.m. The meet is a key checkpoint in the season for the nation’s top-ranked NCAA Division III team.
“It’s a nice evaluation for us,” Carius said. “The competition is outstanding. Some of our top guys haven’t run for two weeks. Now they’re going back and it feels like a long time since they’ve raced. It was nice to give some new people some opportunities.”
The Cardinals opened CCIW play against Millikin Saturday and came out with a 1-0 win in double overtime.
Hope Stayer put in a penalty kick 107:58 into the match to finally give the Cardinals (2-5-1) the win. Nicki Seiton made five saves in net to earn the shutout.
NCC hosts Elmhurst Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The Cardinals took fourth place at the 10-team DePauw Small College Classic Sunday. NCC was led by an eighth-place finish from Mary Kate Rohn, who shot a season-low 78 Saturday and an 83 Sunday.
After getting shut out by Wheaton earlier in the week, the Cardinals bounced back Sunday with an 8-1 CCIW win over Illinois Wesleyan. Miranda Grizaffi, Kelsey Forkin, Madeline Urban, Reynolds Cross and Kayla Garcia each won singles matches and the Cardinals swept all three doubles matches.