The Bradley mens and womens cross country teams dominated on Saturday, as both squads took home titles at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship in Springfield, Missouri.
The men were able to win their third consecutive championship the eighth team ever to accomplish a three-peat in MVC history. The women won their third championship in the last four years after previously winning the championships in 2014 and 2015.
Head coach Darren Gauson said he was ultimately impressed by both of the teams performances over the weekend.
I thought we did very, very well, Gauson said. We went in pre-conference ranked No. 1 on the mens and womens side, and were getting into the habit of establishing our expectation of competing for the [MVC] championships.
Sophomore Jake Hoffert made history after becoming the second-ever Brave to win the mens individual title since 1957, which was Bradleys first run in the championship 52 years ago.
Hofferts first-place finish time in the 8K course was 24:37.87. As a result of his historic performance, he received the MVC Male Athlete of the Year.
The sophomore finished in third place last year, which was the best time ever completed by a freshman in the MVC. He notably received the MVC Freshman of the Year for 2016.
Gauson said he commends Hoffert for his individual performance and elaborated on how his work ethic played a huge part into who he is as a cross country runner.
Hes a redshirt sophomore that works very hard, Gauson said. He comes around, especially during the championship season. Last year, he played incredible and his fitness has only improved since then. It was a delight for him to win his first-ever individual title.
The mens team title run resulted in a tiebreaker won by senior Nikolas Hess. Both Bradley and Indiana State University finished with 49 points total, which required the championship to be determined by the NCAA cross country tiebreaker rule.
The rule requires that all five runners scores are compared between the two teams in order to determine a winner. The Braves took the No. 1 and No. 2 scores, while the Sycamores won No. 3 and No. 4. Therefore, the champion needed to be determined by the No. 5 runner.
As the No. 5 runner, Hess won with a time of 25:25.92, which placed him in front of Indiana States No. 5 runner, Ryan Cash, who finished with a time of 25:34.71.
Hoffert and senior Nyle Clinton were selected for the All-Missouri Valley Conference Team. Clinton placed seventh overall with a career-best time of 25:03.18.
Additionally, Hess, senior Taylor Floyd Mews, who finished 12th in 25:08.21 and freshman Alec Danner, who finished 14th in 25:18.85 received honorable mentions to the All-MVC Team.
The women also found team dominance as they took home their fourth title with a total of 30 points the second-best score in MVC Championship history.
Five female Braves received All-Missouri Valley Conference honors. They all finished in the top 10, with junior Sara Piller finishing the highest with a top four finish in 17:31.95.
Senior Natalie Burant finished at fifth in 17:39.14, sophomore McKenzie Altmayer placed sixth in 17:31.37, sophomore Abby Jockisch finished seventh in 17:44.04 and senior Hannah Witczak placed eighth in 17:44.70.
In terms of overall team performance, the Braves were able to defeat last years champion, Northern Iowa by 26 points.
After looking at this past weekends dominance from both the mens and womens teams, Gauson said he feels comfortable heading into regionals.
Weve moved up without a doubt, Gauson said. If we could finish in the top-five or six in both men and women, wed be ecstatic with that. You always want to be able to compete with the big schools, and were looking to do just that at the NCAA Midwest Regional.
The Bradley mens and womens teams will now prepare for NCAA Midwest Regional on Friday, Nov. 10 in Ames, Iowa.