For the first time in Stevenson running history, the men’s and women’s cross country teams each brought home a first-place trophy for team victories in the Goucher Invitational Oct. 10, as the men and women beat out six other teams for the win.
One week later, their coach, Dave Berdan, crossed the finish line of the Baltimore Marathon in 2:30.22, nearly five minutes faster than the closest runner behind him, claiming another victory over the day’s 24,000+ runners.
The two-time Baltimore Marathon winner notched his first win in 2013 and has been training hard since he had to pull out of the 2014 marathon midway through due to a stress fracture in his left hip that continued to aggravate him during the 2015 run.
Berdan believed the support from the city of Baltimore and from his own runners was incredible. His achievements continued to motivate the Stevenson team.
In the Goucher Invitational, the teams faced host Goucher College, Hood College, Gallaudet University, Harford Community College, Hagerstown Community College and the College of Southern Maryland. The men finished with a team score of 32 points, 27 better than second-place Gallaudet and 43 points better than MAC rival Hood. On the women’s side, freshman Kelly Winklbauer led the team to its first-place finish, becoming the first runner in school history to win a 6k event. The women’s teams finished with a team score of 48, edging out Goucher College.
Winklbauer was subsequently named ECAC Divison III Rookie of the Week for her 6k time of 24:37.33 at the meet.
The jubilant season for Stevenson runners and their coach is a landmark in Stevenson history. With his first recruiting class at Stevenson,
Berdan has a young team that has been full of surprises for him.
He mentions Winklbauer in particular: “As a freshman, she is doing incredible,” he said, adding that she has an outside shot of going to nationals. On the men’s side, he sees the performance as more of a team effort. “It’s a really tight group of three to five guys. Any given week, one of them is the top guy,” said Berdan.
He added, “It’s going much better than last year. It’s our first recruiting class this year, so we have a really young team, but they’re surprising us, doing a lot better than we thought.”
The teams went into 2015 with expectations of a good season, but Berdan has gotten more than expected out of his inexperienced runners.
In his second year coaching at Stevenson, Berdan was able to bring in 65 freshman recruits for both track and cross country.
Both the men and women’s teams are coming off back-to-back first-place finishes heading into the conference championships. Though the season has been a bit of a rollercoaster for the two teams, they appear to be peaking at the right time. The men’s team has placed second, fifth, 14th, 23rd, first and first in their meets (in order) this season, while the women’s team has placed second, second, seventh, 14th, first, and first.
At the conference championships, both teams took sixth place out of the 16 schools participating. Winklbauer finished 13th overall for the women, and freshmen, Langston Gash and Jackson Morow led the race for the men. Gash took 12th place, and Morrow finished in the top 25. According to gomustangsports.com, both the men’s and women’s teams “earned their highest finish in the MAC Championship standings since joining the conference in 2012.”