DILLON — In the inaugural cross country season for the University of Montana Western Bulldogs, they had two freshmen qualify for the NAIA Cross Country Championships that will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina on Nov. 21.
After running strong races all season, Mindy Kaufman – a freshman from Alta, Wyoming – helped lead the Bulldog women to a fourth place team finish after running her race in 19:43 to finish No. 8 overall in a field of 47 runners. Kaufman was only runner not from conference champion Carroll College or runners-up Lewis-Clark State College to place in the top-10. She was also the second fastest freshmen in the Frontier, finishing just 30 seconds behind the top overall freshmen.
Also for the women’s team, freshman Beth Jansma just missed out on qualifying for the Cross Country Championships by finishing No. 16 in a time of 20:22, just three seconds short of placing in the top-15. Jansma ran solid all season and will look to be a force next season.
Other competitors were Gabi Gomez-Wint (No. 20), Caleigh Buckmaster (No. 27) and Amanda Stobie (No. 29). Despite being in their first season of competition, the women’s team finished ahead of Rocky Mountain College and Montana State – Northern in the team totals.
Paul Bielawski, a freshman from Shelby, continued his strong first season for the Bulldogs by finishing No. 10 out of a total 55 runners at the Conference meet. Bielawski completed the race in 27:19, but was just seven seconds out of a No. 7 finish in the meet. Like Kaufman, Bielawski was the second fastest freshmen finished, just two seconds behind the top overall freshmen. He was one of two runners to place in the top-14 that was not from conference champion Lewis-Clark State College and runners-up Carroll College.
Other race competitors for Montana Western were Russell Kujala (No. 22), Dalton Delaney (No. 24), Tanner Lehr (No. 27) and Cole Davis (No. 35). As a team, the Bulldogs finished No. 5, ahead of fellow newcomers Montana State – Northern.]
After being competitive all season, the men will look to build off of this year’s momentum to move up the ranks next season.
— Montana Western Sports Information