LAWRENCE, Kan. – Four Waldorf College women's cross country runners recorded personal-best times while closing out the season in Saturday's Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) Championship.
Sparks, a senior from Mason City, led the way for Waldorf as she earned 37th place with a time of 27 minutes, 35.32 seconds.
Ankarlo was the No. 2 runner for the Warriors as the senior from Duluth, Minn. paced her way to 38th (27:47.81).
"Audrey and Karly really ran well," Waldorf coach Kendrick Clay said. "They were really poised."
Danielle Holt didn't let an injury slow her down. The freshman from New London placed 40th (28:19.40) for the Warriors.
"She looked really strong out there," Clay said.
Atchison, a senior and Plano, Texas native, ran to 41st place (29:42.04).
Ruud closed out the meet in 42nd (29:43.64). It was the first-ever 5K competition for the freshman from Hayfield, Minn.
"That was a good effort from her," Clay said.
Regine Hoover was Waldorf's final runner. The freshman from Chicago finished 43rd (31:03.09).
All of the Warrior runners are in their first year of collegiate competition. They've shown heart each outing, working to improve and fighting the pain that comes with injuries.
"They've stepped up, battled through injury and illness and kept us eligible for postseason competition in the future," Clay said.
Waldorf placed seventh in the team standings with 198 points. Six runners crossing the finish line is a school record for the Warriors since joining the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
"They were just fighting for the team score," Clay said. I'm proud of all of them."
College of St. Mary won the conference championship with 30 points while Haskell Indian Nations University earned second with 47 points. York College (87) took third, finishing ahead of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (88), College of the Ozarks (100), Central Christian College (163) and Waldorf (198).
St. Mary's Emily Weber won the individual title in 19:18.55 and Ozarks' Torri Holder was the runner-up in 19:30.20.
Learning to train and go the distance, this season was a step forward for the Warriors as they showed growth and development.
"Sometimes it doesn't always show in the box score with the effort and things you have to go through just to keep yourself in the hunt down the road," Clay said. "Our girls gave us a fighting chance."