SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Remaining unbeaten in races featuring its top competitors this fall, North Central (Ill.) put forth an impressive showing Friday at the Notre Dame Invitational, winning the Gold Division of the 57th annual meet at Notre Dame Golf Course.
The Cardinals, who entered the meet as the unanimous No. 1-ranked NCAA Division III team in the nation, defeated a field comprised of teams from all divisions of collegiate competition. North Central’s total of 54 points was 19 better than the runner-up squad, Texas-Arlington, which was ranked 11th in the South Central region in the most recent NCAA Division I rankings. Calvin, the sixth-ranked team in Division III, was third with 96 and the lone Canadian entrant, Windsor (Ont.), was fourth with 111.
Windsor’s Matt Walters claimed the individual championship, turning in a time of 24 minutes, 28 seconds on the 8,000-meter (five-mile) course to edge out Missouri-Kansas’s Cosmas Ayabei by three seconds. North Central’s Daniel Kerley turned in a third-place finish in 24:40, narrowly outleaning Calvin’s Dan Kerr at the line.
The Cardinals’ Yonatan Mascote and Tim Hird also cracked the top 10, placing seventh (24:57) and ninth (24:58), respectively, while Travis Morrison crossed the line 12th (25:04) and Ryan Root closed out North Central’s scoring with a 23rd-place finish in 25:17.
Rounding out the Cardinals’ contingent were Roger Klein (Jr., Streamwood, Ill./Streamwood) in 31st (25:23), David Weber (Jr., Dunlap, Ill./Illinois Valley Central) in 33rd (25:27) and Mitch Gilbert in 35th (25:28).
The team title was North Central’s first at Notre Dame since 2009, when the Cardinals went on to win their 13th NCAA Division III National Championship.