Catching up with former area athletes: Grassmid, Schroeder help teams to national cross country titles

A pair of area cross country runners have been part of national championship-winning teams this fall for their respective universities.

Thaniel Schroeder, a member of the Dordt University men's cross country team, poses with the NAIA men's cross country team championship trophy on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022 in Tallahassee, Florida.
Dordt University photo
We are part of The Trust Project.

MITCHELL — A pair of area cross country runners have been part of national championship-winning teams this fall for their respective universities.

At the NAIA national championships in Tallahassee, Florida, the Dordt University men’s cross country team won the championship for the first time in school history on Nov. 18. Thaniel Schroeder, a native of Spencer, is a member of the Defenders’ squad. Dordt won the event with 97 points, placing four runners in the top-25 and scoring 97 points, finishing ahead of second-place Milligan (Tenn.), which had 115 points.

It is Dordt's first national championship in a team sport and the first men's cross country title won by a Great Plains Athletic Conference school.

Schroeder was not one of the seven runners to compete in the national meet but was a member of the NAIA’s 2022 scholar-athlete list for the third time in his career, as well.

To be eligible, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and have attended one full year at said institution.


A junior, Schroeder was 10th in the GPAC meet on Nov. 5 in Jamestown, North Dakota, in a time of 26:05.2., where he was seventh among runners on the stacked Dordt roster. The finish at the meet meant Schroeder was an all-GPAC runner for the first time. Dordt won the men's GPAC team title for the fifth consecutive season.

Bob Jones University's Joseph Grassmid
Bob Jones University photo

At Bob Jones (S.C.) University, Menno graduate Joseph Grassmid was a pusher for the Bruins’ championship team in the National Christian College Athletic Association Division II meet on Nov. 11 in Joplin, Missouri.

Grassmid finished 11th out of 70 runners in the national meet (28 minutes, 44 seconds) and was eighth among the Bruins’ roster of runners, helping BJU finish off its seventh consecutive national championship. In a field of eight teams, the Bruins — who are based in Greenville, South Carolina, finished with 20 points, their best finish in team history at a national championship.

Grassmid had his best finish of the season at the Alexander Asics Cross Country Invitational on Oct. 1 in Fairburn, Georgia, when he was 46th in a field of 130 runners (27:32.4) that included NCAA Division I competition.

Northern's Turnquist starts new season nationally ranked for NSU

In a 2021 file photo, Northern State University's Wyatt Turnquist flexes after winning a match for the Wolves.
Northern State University file photo

ABERDEEN, S.D. — Northern State wrestler Wyatt Turnquist, a native of Winner, is ranked nationally in Division II wrestling to open the season.

Turnquist, wrestling at 149 pounds, was No. 11 in the preseason rankings from the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The senior Wolves wrestler was 20-5 and 9-0 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action last season.

Turnquist has started his 2022-23 season at 2-0. He won a pair of matches in a Nov. 4 dual event in Edmond, Oklahoma. There, he pinned Kayson Kenny from Carl Albert State (Okla.) in 2 minutes, 19 seconds as part of a 47-3 dual win for NSU, and he scored the lone victory for Northern in a 30-3 dual loss to fourth-ranked Central Oklahoma after a 6-4 decision over third-ranked Brik Filippo.

Northern State heads to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Dec. 2 and 3. The Wolves will dual the Rangers on Dec. 2 and then participate in UWP’s Jim Koch Open on Dec. 3.


Byers caps junior season at NCAA regionals

VERMILLION, S.D. — Ella Byers, a junior cross country runner at the University of South Dakota, finished her 2022 season at the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional meet on Nov. 11 at the University of Missouri’s Gans Creek Course in Columbia, Missouri.

University of South Dakota runner Ella Byers (University of South Dakota)

Byers, a native of Chamberlain, covered the 6,000-meter course in 21:48.3, a season best on the Gans Course, and good for 101st place finish. Earlier in the year, she ran the course in a time of 21:52.1. As a team, USD finished 22nd out of 33 squads.

Byers had a 23rd place finish for the Coyotes at the Summit League Championships on Oct. 29 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, finishing in 21:23.7. USD finished fifth as a team at the conference meet.

Her best finish of the season was a 12th place finish at the Platte River Rumble on Oct. 14, when she finished in 21:44.1 in Ashland, Nebraska, helping USD finish in third place at the event as a team.

Byers and the Coyotes will turn the page soon to the indoor track and field season, starting Dec. 2-3 at the South Dakota State University Holiday Invitational in Brookings.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
What to read next
The Dakota Wesleyan University volleyball team said the goals are simple for their time in Sioux City, Iowa this week for the NAIA national volleyball final site tournament, where the final 24 teams will play their way down over the next week to a national champion on Dec. 6 at the Tyson Events Center.
The Jackrabbits' game on Dec. 3 will be their first in 21 days
As a South Dakota native, Hanna Reiff said she’s grateful that she has been a part of the Tigers’ turnaround as a program.
Rhule, who has a career record of 47-43, spoke with the media Monday at his inaugural press conference