Grace XC Three-Peats As NCCAA National Champs

November 12, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.
Pictured is Grace's cross country teams celebrating its 2023 NCCAA national championships on Friday morning. Photo by Jeff Nycz
Pictured is Grace's cross country teams celebrating its 2023 NCCAA national championships on Friday morning. Photo by Jeff Nycz

By Josh Neuhart

WARSAW, Ind. - For the third straight year, Grace’s cross country teams earned the title of national champions.
Grace’s men and women swept the 2023 NCCAA National Championships on Friday morning – the program’s third consecutive year of sweeping the national titles.
The Lancers racked up 12 All-American awards between the two teams during the Lancers’ unified effort.
Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Michael Moffitt was named the NCCAA National Coach of the Year for men’s and women’s cross country.
The race was held at Warsaw Community High School’s cross country course; Grace and Bethel teamed up for the host responsibilities for the national championships. WCHS will host the national championship races again next year in the two-year host agreement.
Grace’s men began the day with an impressive showing. The Lancers had eight finishers across the top-18 in the nation.
Cole Johnston, Dimitri Margaritidis, Korry Hamlin and Logan Rufenacht finished fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
Johnston crossed the finish line at 25:53.3, and Margaritidis, Hamlin and Rufenacht crossed the finish line at practically the same time.
Brady Hunsberger placed 10th in the race with a time of 26:06.1. All five of Grace’s top-five runners earned NCCAA All-American status (given to top-10 finishers in the country).
Brandon Kleber (26:09.6) grabbed 11th place, Justin Van Prooyen (26:26.0) was 13th overall, and Luis Loera (26:33.8) was 14th.
Dakota Ames (27:22.1) and Luke Nier (27:31.6) also ran well for the Lancers.
On the women’s side, seven Lancers claimed All-American status as well. Esther Cameron and Mallory Hiatt crossed the finish line together at 19:09.7 to grab third place, and Cece Mitchell was a fraction of a second behind for fifth place.
Grace also earned the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th-place finishers. Anna Hulstedt (19:21.1), Tara Friesen (19:25.5), Addison Grady (19:27.7) and Tame Baylis (19:30.7) finished in a tight group to close out the top-10 individuals and earn All-American honors.
Katie Acker (19:41.8) and Madelyn Skidmore (19:49.1) placed 12th and 14th respectively, and Morgan Welch grabbed 19th place with a time of 20:30.9.
Overall, Grace had seven of the top-10 finishers and nine of the top 14 for the women’s side.
The Lancers have one race left. Grace will run at the 2023 NAIA National Championships on Nov. 17 in Vancouver, Wash.

Third-Quarter Woes Deal Grace Loss
WINONA LAKE - Grace’s women’s basketball team was unable to deal an upset to IU Northwest on Saturday in the finale of the Val Weinstein Classic.
Grace fell 77-68 versus the RedHawks, who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
The Lancers held a 12-point lead at halftime, but a poor third quarter unraveled Grace’s best intentions. The Lancers tried to muster a comeback in the fourth quarter, but the damage was already done.
Grace began Saturday’s game with one of its best offensive quarters of the season. The Lancers ripped off 26 points in the first 10-minute session, their second-highest tally of the year. Bekah Marshall sparked Grace early with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Kaylee Patton was nearly unstoppable, scoring 13 points in the quarter.
Grace opened up its biggest lead of eight and still led 26-20 by the end of the period. Patton ended the quarter with a bucket in the final minute.
The second quarter was another fast-paced affair. Grace pushed its lead to 10 thanks to triples from Molly Long and Morganne Houk.
The Lancers ended the half on another strong note. Houk scored two quick baskets over the final 30 seconds, helping expand Grace’s lead to its largest of the game at 48-36.
Houk and Patton tied for the team lead with 13 points in the half. Grace overcame 11 first-half turnovers by shooting 56 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
The third quarter, however, saw Grace’s strong first half go to waste.
The Lancers were held scoreless for nearly eight minutes and saw their lead quickly disappear. IU Northwest took advantage with a 24-0 run as Grace saw its 12-point lead turn into a 12-point deficit. The Lancers missed all 10 of their field goals during the stretch (including 0-5 on 3s), while the RedHawks incredibly shot 10 for 10 during the same period.
Kensie Ryman hit the second of two free throws to end the skid. Grace scored the final three points of the quarter, entering the fourth trailing 60-51. The Lancers shot eight percent from the floor in the quarter (1-13).
Grace seemed intent to regain the lead in the final frame. A triple from Brooke Blaszczyk and a steal and score from Houk slashed IUNW’s lead down to five with 7:48 on the clock.
A few minutes later, Houk swished a triple which made the score 69-65 with 3:33 remaining.
But Grace’s offense was unable to close the gap. Over the final three minutes, the Lancers had two turnovers and missed four of their five shots. The RedHawks iced the win with free throws in the closing seconds.
Patton shot 8 of 14 for her 21 points, adding six rebounds. Houk drilled four 3-pointers for her 18 points to go along with three steals, and Marshall scored 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting.
Maddie Ryman finished with 4 points, 5 assists and 9 rebounds, and Kensie Ryman had 4 points, 8 assists and 3 boards.
Long had five points and six boards, and Blaszczyk had four points and three rebounds.
Grace finished the game shooting 42 percent from the floor and 37 percent overall.
“This was a gut-wrenching loss. To play as well as we did in the first half and then have the third quarter go like that was a little disappointing," said Grace head coach Dan Davis. “Credit to these ladies though for taking ownership after the game. There is a ton of basketball still to be played this year, so we’ll look at the film, get better and get back at it next week.”
The Lancers will play home again soon with a doubleheader scheduled for Tuesday against St. Xavier. The women will tip off at 6 p.m. with the men to follow at 8 p.m.

Lancers Drop Heartbreaker In Conference Championship
MISHAWAKA, Ind. - Grace College’s men's soccer team dropped the Crossroads league Championship game 2-1 to No. 9 Bethel on Saturday afternoon.
The Lancers tied the game in the waning moments of regulation, but a second overtime marker from Bethel secured the championship for the Pilots
The Lancers now await a likely host bid to the NAIA National Tournament. The NAIA Selection Show for the men’s tournament will be held on Monday. Play will begin on either Thursday or Saturday depending on the Lancers placement in the tournament.
The championship affair was reminiscent of the first meeting between the best teams in the Crossroads League as the game was a possession battle.
The Lancers had the first shot on goal 10 minutes into the opening half when Frederik Christmann had a try that went high of the net.
A few minutes later it appeared as if Martim Sequeira may be awarded a penalty kick after an illegal tackle in the box, but the play was whistled back for a Grace offsides call.
In the middle of the half the Pilots enjoyed the majority of possession and had a trio of consecutive corner kicks. Bethel was unable to take advantage however, as the Lancers defense held the Pilots without a shot.
Flavio Cruz was denied a dangerous chance after getting behind the Pilot defense and the Lancers were awarded a free kick as a result.
The ensuing try from Christmann snuck around the defensive wall, but the ball was smothered by the Pilot keeper to negate the Lancers chance.
The Pilots first shot of the game came with just 7:52 left in the half. The quality chance saw the ball quickly work the right to left side of the box, but Matteo Conci was ready for the moment as he made a confident save to maintain the score.
The rest of the half elapsed without incident as the championship game entered the ha;f tied at zero.
Grace outshot the Pilots 3-1 in the first half, but Bethel held a 3-0 corner kick advantage.
The second half had a much more frantic pace than the opening 45 minutes. Grace and Bethel each had a shot in the first 10-minutes .
The Pilots nearly broke the deadlock with 31 minutes left with a chance near the corner of the net, but Conci made a kicksave to keep the game scoreless.
The Pilots continued to chip away at the Lancers’ defense and with 20-minutes left were awarded a penalty kick, after a collision in the box. The Pilots converted on the PK to take a 1-0 lead.
The Pilots had a chance to double their lead as the clock ticked under 10 minutes but Bethel’s set-piece opportunity curled wide of the net.
The game turned in Grace’s favor with just three minutes remaining in regulation. The Bethel Pilots were given a red card after Maxime Bregeon was struck by a Bethel player as they wrestled for control of the ball.
Now playing man, it did not take Grace long to find the back of the net. Gavin Morgan headed a ball along to Daniel Santos Rosa who made a run towards the net before crossing a pass to Martim Sequeira who headed in the equalizing goal.
The final minute saw each team make a last search towards goal, but neither attempt resulted in a chance as the game entered the first of two 10-minute overtimes.
The first 13 minutes of extra time passed without a shot goal.
The Pilots had a pair of shots on goal late in extra time and with a minute left Bethel would score the game winning goal.

WARSAW, Ind. - For the third straight year, Grace’s cross country teams earned the title of national champions.
Grace’s men and women swept the 2023 NCCAA National Championships on Friday morning – the program’s third consecutive year of sweeping the national titles.
The Lancers racked up 12 All-American awards between the two teams during the Lancers’ unified effort.
Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Michael Moffitt was named the NCCAA National Coach of the Year for men’s and women’s cross country.
The race was held at Warsaw Community High School’s cross country course; Grace and Bethel teamed up for the host responsibilities for the national championships. WCHS will host the national championship races again next year in the two-year host agreement.
Grace’s men began the day with an impressive showing. The Lancers had eight finishers across the top-18 in the nation.
Cole Johnston, Dimitri Margaritidis, Korry Hamlin and Logan Rufenacht finished fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
Johnston crossed the finish line at 25:53.3, and Margaritidis, Hamlin and Rufenacht crossed the finish line at practically the same time.
Brady Hunsberger placed 10th in the race with a time of 26:06.1. All five of Grace’s top-five runners earned NCCAA All-American status (given to top-10 finishers in the country).
Brandon Kleber (26:09.6) grabbed 11th place, Justin Van Prooyen (26:26.0) was 13th overall, and Luis Loera (26:33.8) was 14th.
Dakota Ames (27:22.1) and Luke Nier (27:31.6) also ran well for the Lancers.
On the women’s side, seven Lancers claimed All-American status as well. Esther Cameron and Mallory Hiatt crossed the finish line together at 19:09.7 to grab third place, and Cece Mitchell was a fraction of a second behind for fifth place.
Grace also earned the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th-place finishers. Anna Hulstedt (19:21.1), Tara Friesen (19:25.5), Addison Grady (19:27.7) and Tame Baylis (19:30.7) finished in a tight group to close out the top-10 individuals and earn All-American honors.
Katie Acker (19:41.8) and Madelyn Skidmore (19:49.1) placed 12th and 14th respectively, and Morgan Welch grabbed 19th place with a time of 20:30.9.
Overall, Grace had seven of the top-10 finishers and nine of the top 14 for the women’s side.
The Lancers have one race left. Grace will run at the 2023 NAIA National Championships on Nov. 17 in Vancouver, Wash.

Third-Quarter Woes Deal Grace Loss
WINONA LAKE - Grace’s women’s basketball team was unable to deal an upset to IU Northwest on Saturday in the finale of the Val Weinstein Classic.
Grace fell 77-68 versus the RedHawks, who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
The Lancers held a 12-point lead at halftime, but a poor third quarter unraveled Grace’s best intentions. The Lancers tried to muster a comeback in the fourth quarter, but the damage was already done.
Grace began Saturday’s game with one of its best offensive quarters of the season. The Lancers ripped off 26 points in the first 10-minute session, their second-highest tally of the year. Bekah Marshall sparked Grace early with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Kaylee Patton was nearly unstoppable, scoring 13 points in the quarter.
Grace opened up its biggest lead of eight and still led 26-20 by the end of the period. Patton ended the quarter with a bucket in the final minute.
The second quarter was another fast-paced affair. Grace pushed its lead to 10 thanks to triples from Molly Long and Morganne Houk.
The Lancers ended the half on another strong note. Houk scored two quick baskets over the final 30 seconds, helping expand Grace’s lead to its largest of the game at 48-36.
Houk and Patton tied for the team lead with 13 points in the half. Grace overcame 11 first-half turnovers by shooting 56 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
The third quarter, however, saw Grace’s strong first half go to waste.
The Lancers were held scoreless for nearly eight minutes and saw their lead quickly disappear. IU Northwest took advantage with a 24-0 run as Grace saw its 12-point lead turn into a 12-point deficit. The Lancers missed all 10 of their field goals during the stretch (including 0-5 on 3s), while the RedHawks incredibly shot 10 for 10 during the same period.
Kensie Ryman hit the second of two free throws to end the skid. Grace scored the final three points of the quarter, entering the fourth trailing 60-51. The Lancers shot eight percent from the floor in the quarter (1-13).
Grace seemed intent to regain the lead in the final frame. A triple from Brooke Blaszczyk and a steal and score from Houk slashed IUNW’s lead down to five with 7:48 on the clock.
A few minutes later, Houk swished a triple which made the score 69-65 with 3:33 remaining.
But Grace’s offense was unable to close the gap. Over the final three minutes, the Lancers had two turnovers and missed four of their five shots. The RedHawks iced the win with free throws in the closing seconds.
Patton shot 8 of 14 for her 21 points, adding six rebounds. Houk drilled four 3-pointers for her 18 points to go along with three steals, and Marshall scored 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting.
Maddie Ryman finished with 4 points, 5 assists and 9 rebounds, and Kensie Ryman had 4 points, 8 assists and 3 boards.
Long had five points and six boards, and Blaszczyk had four points and three rebounds.
Grace finished the game shooting 42 percent from the floor and 37 percent overall.
“This was a gut-wrenching loss. To play as well as we did in the first half and then have the third quarter go like that was a little disappointing," said Grace head coach Dan Davis. “Credit to these ladies though for taking ownership after the game. There is a ton of basketball still to be played this year, so we’ll look at the film, get better and get back at it next week.”
The Lancers will play home again soon with a doubleheader scheduled for Tuesday against St. Xavier. The women will tip off at 6 p.m. with the men to follow at 8 p.m.

Lancers Drop Heartbreaker In Conference Championship
MISHAWAKA, Ind. - Grace College’s men's soccer team dropped the Crossroads league Championship game 2-1 to No. 9 Bethel on Saturday afternoon.
The Lancers tied the game in the waning moments of regulation, but a second overtime marker from Bethel secured the championship for the Pilots
The Lancers now await a likely host bid to the NAIA National Tournament. The NAIA Selection Show for the men’s tournament will be held on Monday. Play will begin on either Thursday or Saturday depending on the Lancers placement in the tournament.
The championship affair was reminiscent of the first meeting between the best teams in the Crossroads League as the game was a possession battle.
The Lancers had the first shot on goal 10 minutes into the opening half when Frederik Christmann had a try that went high of the net.
A few minutes later it appeared as if Martim Sequeira may be awarded a penalty kick after an illegal tackle in the box, but the play was whistled back for a Grace offsides call.
In the middle of the half the Pilots enjoyed the majority of possession and had a trio of consecutive corner kicks. Bethel was unable to take advantage however, as the Lancers defense held the Pilots without a shot.
Flavio Cruz was denied a dangerous chance after getting behind the Pilot defense and the Lancers were awarded a free kick as a result.
The ensuing try from Christmann snuck around the defensive wall, but the ball was smothered by the Pilot keeper to negate the Lancers chance.
The Pilots first shot of the game came with just 7:52 left in the half. The quality chance saw the ball quickly work the right to left side of the box, but Matteo Conci was ready for the moment as he made a confident save to maintain the score.
The rest of the half elapsed without incident as the championship game entered the ha;f tied at zero.
Grace outshot the Pilots 3-1 in the first half, but Bethel held a 3-0 corner kick advantage.
The second half had a much more frantic pace than the opening 45 minutes. Grace and Bethel each had a shot in the first 10-minutes .
The Pilots nearly broke the deadlock with 31 minutes left with a chance near the corner of the net, but Conci made a kicksave to keep the game scoreless.
The Pilots continued to chip away at the Lancers’ defense and with 20-minutes left were awarded a penalty kick, after a collision in the box. The Pilots converted on the PK to take a 1-0 lead.
The Pilots had a chance to double their lead as the clock ticked under 10 minutes but Bethel’s set-piece opportunity curled wide of the net.
The game turned in Grace’s favor with just three minutes remaining in regulation. The Bethel Pilots were given a red card after Maxime Bregeon was struck by a Bethel player as they wrestled for control of the ball.
Now playing man, it did not take Grace long to find the back of the net. Gavin Morgan headed a ball along to Daniel Santos Rosa who made a run towards the net before crossing a pass to Martim Sequeira who headed in the equalizing goal.
The final minute saw each team make a last search towards goal, but neither attempt resulted in a chance as the game entered the first of two 10-minute overtimes.
The first 13 minutes of extra time passed without a shot goal.
The Pilots had a pair of shots on goal late in extra time and with a minute left Bethel would score the game winning goal.

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