Kortenhof takes 14th at Midwest Regional; earns NCAA Championships berth

Lawrence cross country action Joe Kortenhof
Joe Korenthof, left, finished 14th at the NCAA Midwest Regional.

WINNECONNE, Wis. -- Lawrence University cross country star Joe Kortenhof raced to 14th place Saturday at the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional and punched his ticket to the national meet.

Kortenhof learned Sunday that he will compete at the NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky. With the announcement that five teams qualified from the Midwest Regional, Kortenhof easily earned a berth as an individual qualifier.

Kortenhof took 14th place and covered the 8,000 meters at Lake Breeze Golf Course in 25:08.2, which is good for the third-fastest time in Lawrence history.

"This was an all-time great performance by Joe," Lawrence coach Jason Fast said. "After being 45th last year to step up to 14th is a tremendous improvement, but also represents Joe's commitment to excellence."

Kortenhof would be one of the individual qualifiers for the NCAA Championships once the NCAA decides how many teams from the Midwest Region will qualify. It's likely the NCAA will select three or four teams from what is considered the top region in the country.

Perennial national champion North Central College won the regional, followed by the closely bunched 2-3-4 finishers of UW-La Crosse, Washington University and the University of Chicago.

Chicago's Ryan Cutter won the regional with a time of 24:32.6.

"I couldn't be more proud of Joe," Fast said. "He's given his all for four years, and it's great to see all of hard work pay off."

Lawrence finished 26th in the team standings with 716 points. Aaron Arthur finished 164th for the Vikings in 28:28.2, and Billy Daniels was 169th in 28:37.5. Itai Bojdak-Yates was 173rd in 28:42.0 and Sam Marrese-Wheeler completed the scoring by finishing 197th in 29:37.4.

On the women's side, Lawrence's injury-depleted squad fielded four runners.

Leah Hawksford led the Vikings by placing 107th as she covered the 6,000-meter course in 24:41.1. Natalie LaMonto was next as she placed 151st in 25:36.7. Madeline Taylor was 213th in 28:00.6, and Amanda Endicott was 234th in 29:28.2.