The Student News Site of University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Cross country faces difficult regional


Lopers take 8th and 12th in Kearney

Lindsey Smith

Antelope Staff

The UNK cross country team concluded its season on home turf in the NCAA Central Regional Meet. Fifty-nine collegiate cross county teams from three different conferences gathered at the Kearney Country Club Saturday morning for a chance to qualify for nationals in Evansville, Indiana.

For the Lopers, seven men and seven women were selected to run in the open meet for a chance to compete in the NCAA championships.

The UNK women’s cross country came in with a team finish of 12 out of 32 teams with 334 points. Brady Bonsall, the UNK cross country head coach, said, “No one in the top 10 slipped up enough for us to get in. The difference between 11th and 12th place was a small margin of six points, so we were right there in the end.” 

The University of Mary women took first place.

Molly Dibben, a senior communication disorders major from Blair, was the first female Loper to finish, coming in 43rd in the women’s 6K with a time of 22:45.1. “We approached the regional meet with the same mentality that we approach every meet: every race matters. With that, we wanted to attack it, compete hard, and stick our necks out there to see what we were capable of,” said Dibben, an All-MIAA selection.

The UNK men placed eight out of 27 teams with 227 points. This is the men’s tenth-straight top 10 finish at the regional meet. Sophomore from Deweese, Corbin Hansen, was the first male Loper to finish in 16th place and was just one spot away from attending the NCAA championships in Indiana this Saturday.

The Augustana men took first place.

Andrew Fields, a senior exercise science major from Ord, placed 20 in the men’s 10K with a time of 32:23.5.  Fields, an All-MIAA selection, describes challenges the Lopers faced heading into regionals: “I think that our two biggest challenges this season were all of us having a great race on the same day, and being able to race for our teammates instead of racing against each other. Very few teams in this region are as deep as the Lopers.”

The last time UNK hosted the regional meet was nine years ago. Dibben recounts the experience: “It was a pretty big deal to host regionals and it created an atmosphere and energy that was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.”

Fields feels similarly and describes competing at home for a change, “Being in Kearney and seeing all of your classmates, friends, teammates and even people from your high school was incredibly encouraging and an overall awesome experience. The fact that I was able to rep my Lopes on home soil in my final cross country race is something that I’ll always be proud of.”

Dibben and Fields have both completed their final cross country seasons as Lopers. Dibben recollects her time as a Loper: “Being a Loper student-athlete has been one of the most valued experiences of my college career. I’ve had incredible opportunities to compete for UNK, and I’ve been surrounded by the most dedicated and supportive group of people. After four years, I can definitely say that I will forever be proud to be a Loper,” Dibben said.

No Lopers will be attending the NCAA championships for cross country, but they are gearing up for indoor season which begins early December.

Fields is ready for indoor, saying, “There are more people healthy than we had at this time last year, and everyone has been putting in the work so far in practice. We always hope to go to conference and do the best we can. The MIAA is probably the toughest conference in DII, so you never take anything lightly. Every place is a fight, and we try to put up a good fight for every point we can.”

Catch the Loper track squad in action Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9 for the Pre-Holiday Classic in Cushing Coliseum.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Antelope

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Nebraska at Kearney . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Antelope

Comments (0)

All The Antelope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *