By Jasmine Pankratz – Sports Editor
The Hesston College cross country team is once again being recognized for earning a team academic award, just like they have every year for the previous six years Gerry Sieber has been coaching. The fall 2016 men’s cross country team is ranked first nationally in the cross country academic team standings with a 3.911 GPA, and the women’s team is ranked eighth with a 3.755 GPA.
Rankings are based upon teams that nominate at least five members for Academic All-American honors.
Since the cross country program’s start in 2010, the men have finished in the top ten every year and the women close behind, finishing in the top ten three times in all seven years. However, Sieber doesn’t feel like he can be attributed to these impressive high-academic standards.
“I don’t feel like I can take much credit for it,” Sieber said. “It’s remarkable and I’m proud of this fantastic achievement. It feels good for them to have this kind of success.”
Not only does this accomplishment mean a lot to Sieber and the team, but also to the Hesston College community.
“Our athletic department and Hesston College community are extremely proud of this accomplishment by the cross country team and Coach Sieber,” said Athletic Director, Rob Ramseyer. “They exemplify what we hope for and expect out of our athletic teams through their positive impact in their sport and in our community.”
For the Larks, being a student athlete requires a lot of balance and time management. Members of each team not only participate in their sport and attend classes, but also might have campus jobs, serve as resident assistants, ministry assistants, student ambassadors, or participate in music, theatre or clubs. Taking all these factors into consideration, makes this achievement all the more remarkable.
“I think it’s a reflection of the culture on the campus of Hesston college and on the culture that we have created in our cross country program that values academics,” said Sieber. “Everyone on Hesston’s campus has contributed to our runners’ success.”