RIVER FALLS, Wis.-- Cool air and a fast course met the Rams on Friday at the Falcon Invitational. North Central answered by laying down a solid performance in their first attempt at the full 8000 meter distance in the new season.
For the second straight week freshman Kedric Brantner (Huron, S.D./James Valley Christian) led North Central, this time in his first race at the 8 kilometer, NCAA Divsion III distance. Brantner ran among the top 20 for much of the first half of the race before finishing 28th overall in a time of 28:08. That result is both the second fastest 8k debut and second fastest time ever run by an NCU freshman.
Junior Kaleb Gunderson (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) also had a strong race, placing 39th overall with a time of 29:35, over a minute faster than his first 8k last season. Sophomore Austin Hagemeister (Maple Grove, Minn./Maple Grove) finished 52nd with a time of 30:34, just 21 seconds off a career-best and over a minute faster than his debut a year ago.
Sophomore Brody Elg (Virginia, Minn./Virginia) finished as the Rams fourth runner in 66th place. Senior Daniel Morgenstern (Apple Valley, Minn./School of Enviromental Studies) rounded out the Rams scoring with an 68th plache finish.
The Rams team average time was over 40 seconds better than last season's first 8k results.
Carleton College (Northfield, Minn.) was the team champion on the strength of their top three runners finishing first through third overall, including the winner, Donson Cook-Gallardo.
North Central will be back in action next Saturday with a trip to the Chicagoland area. The Rams will race at the Gil Dodds Invitational hosted by Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.) at St. James Farm. The 8000 meter men's race is scheduled for a 10:45 a.m. start.