1977 - We need one more guy!
Standing L to R - Coach Scott Underwood, Paul Boersma (senior), Joel Brandt (freshman), Ken Cizadlo (junior). Kneeling L to R - Mike Bills (junior), Mark Bills (junior), Mike Dunlap (junior), Randy Fischer (senior)
The 1977 team won the North Central Conference cross country title and finished 2nd at the NCCA Division II Nationals. So, we had finished 9th in 1975, 5th in 1976 and now 2nd. In the 1977 National race Mike Bills once again stepped up big time with his 7th place finish. I was 28th but with a mile to go I was in 25th place. Top 25 finishers are named "All-America". So, every coach on the course was pointing at me and screaming at the runners behind me, "this guy is 25th place"!! I really wanted them not to do that. But, 3 runners past me in the last mile. Mark Bills finished 42nd, but what no one knew was that he was running on a broken foot. He had stress fractured his foot but somehow was able to run on it. He was nowhere near his best form, but still finished as our number 3 runner and enabled us to finish second as a team. Stud.
With Randy Fischer and Paul Boersma graduating off the team, we needed one more top level runner to give us a shot and winning it all in 1978. Enter Dick Beardsley in 1978!