Cross country competes at the NAIA National Tournament

Mireille Minassian, Staff Writer

This past weekend, three Westmont cross country team members traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to compete in the NAIA National Championships. Both men’s and women’s meets were held on Friday, April 9. Second-year Madden Hundley, first-year Anneline Breytenbach, and first-year Mitch Groff made the Warrior community proud after displaying a phenomenal effort.

Hundley became the tenth All-American in Westmont’s women’s cross country team. She finished 32nd in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 18:30:1, which was significantly faster than her 20:06.03 time at the 2019 National Championships. This was the first time a Westmont cross country athlete has earned the honor of All-American since 2014.

Hundley spoke on the difficulties of the course and how she persevered, saying, “I think I did a good job of pushing through the rough parts of the course. Lots of puddles, deep mud and uneven ground made for quite the racing experience.” 

Hundley has great hopes for the team’s future, claiming, “I think next year will be the year that we make it as a team to the Cross Country Nationals.” 

First-year Breytenbach finished with a time of 19:51.17 in the 5,000-meter race during her first appearance at the National Championships. 

Breytenbach said, “Going into the meet, I was both nervous and excited since there were so many new things — the course, the weather and a lot of competitors — but it was a really fun experience and I’m so grateful to have had Madden [Hundley] showing me the ropes.”

On the men’s side, first-year lone runner Groff finished the 8,000-meter race with a time of 26:33.96. Groff spoke of his feelings on being the only runner at his first National Championship, saying, “My thoughts going into the meet were simply to do my best, given the fact that I was racing alone, without a team. Also, to learn as much as I could about what it feels like racing a national meet.” 

After the race, the team went to Cold Stone Creamery to celebrate with some well-deserved ice cream. 

The Westmont community is excited for the future of Westmont’s cross country team as they hope to continue competing and representing the Warriors well in upcoming seasons.

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