Katie Bonnema, a junior from Ireton, placed eighth in helping the Dordt College women’s cross country team win the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) championship, the first in team history to do so, Nov. 3 at McCook Lake, S.D., hosted by Briar Cliff University.
Bonnema had a time of 18:20.95 for the Defenders.
The Defenders finished with 25 team points to claim the title. Concordia and Nebraska Wesleyan were tied for second with 91 points.
Dordt took places three through eight on the way to the team title and the seventh runner for the Defenders ended in 31st place. Dordt’s top five runners were separated by just 20 seconds in earning a team berth at the NAIA National Cross Country Championships to be held on Nov. 17 in Vancover, Wash.
Lauren Opp was the first to cross the finish line for the Defenders with a time of 18:00 for third overall. Marissa Harkema was fourth with a time of 18:15 and the next four runners came across in short order for Dordt. Kayla Byl finished in 18:17, Abby De Vries was right behind in sixth with a time of 18:18. Next was Renee Buikema with a time of 18:21 and Bonnema was less than a second behind Buikema for an eighth place time. Lillie Koerner clocked a 19:09 but did not figure into the team score.
Concordia’s Sarah Kortze and Jenna Schwalenberg were first and second with times of 17:11 and 17:45 over the 5,000-meters course. A total of 95 runners and 11 teams competed in the meet.
“Our ladies put everything together today. We ran a great team race with a first through sixth place spread of 20 seconds. The team is excited to make a strong run at the NAIA Cross Country Championships Meet,” said Dordt College Coach Greg Van Dyke.