Dordt University, a Christian school in Sioux Center, Iowa, with denominational ties to the Christian Reformed Church, recently won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics men’s cross-country championship along with recognition for the team’s coach. This is the first-ever cross-country championship for any member school of the Great Plains Athletic Conference and the first NAIA win for Dordt in any sport. Dordt won the competition 18 points ahead of the second-place school, Milligan (Tenn.) University. Dordt’s head coach of cross-country, Nate Wolf, was named the NAIA Men’s Cross-Country Coach of the Year.
Wolf has coached at Dordt since 2015. “This group of men have come together to be a group that loves each other and sacrifices for each other. For them to win is more than I could hope for any group, but is very special for this group, as they really wanted to win it for each other,” Wolf said. ”They have been blessed with incredible work ethic and talent, but the way they raced is a product of the types of people they are and the brotherhood they share.”
Senior team members Joe Anderson, Peter Shippey, David Tebben, and Eric Steiger finished among the top 40 runners at the Tallahassee, Fla., championship meet and were awarded All-American honors. “It has been my goal for four years to be an All-American in cross-country, so it felt good to cross that off the list,” Anderson said. Shippey appreciated the experience but recognizes it as fleeting. Quoting a high school coach, he said “‘At the end of a trip like this, win or lose, it will be a cool experience, but it won’t change you. You will still wake up the next morning and be the same person you were before you won (or lost).’ While winning and becoming an All American has been fun, at the end of the day, those medals won’t last forever. The memories will last a little longer than the medals, but, as I know because my grandpa suffered from Parkinson’s, which led to dementia, even the memories will probably fade. So while I’m celebrating this happy time with my teammates, and I’m glad God has given me this opportunity, at the end of the day, it is indeed faith in him that will outlast this accomplishment.”
About the Author
Kyle Hoogendoorn is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. He lives in Rock Valley, Iowa.