Story by the University of Mount Olive Athletic Communications Office.
The University of Mount Olive men's and women's cross country teams are comprised of a large number of international student-athletes that come to compete at the college level while also earning a degree in a particular skill. Two members of the men's teams had opportunities following their senior seasons to return to their native countries to try out for spots on the national cross country teams for their respective countries.
Dahlke returned to his native Germany following the NCAA Division II National Championships where he earned his first cross-country All-American honors with a 36th place finish. While in Germany, Dahkle competed in a qualifying race for a spot on the U23 team. He placed in the top-four, which secured his spot on the German National team.
He followed by competing for Germany at the European Cross Country Championships in Šamorín, Slovakia. Dahlke finished 56th of 85 participants in a very competitive field of talented runners from across Europe and helped the German team place 7th out of 16 teams.
"Ever since I started track and field/cross country, my biggest dream was to someday represent my country as a runner," said Dahlke. "My race in Šamorín was the second time that dream became a reality for me after competing at the European U23 Championships in Poland in the summer. It is even more special because this is my last year in the U23 age group, and qualifying for the national team will be much more difficult in the future."
Dahlke continued by saying, "Having worn the Germany singlet twice in my last U23 year fills me with pride and joy, but I also think of all the ups and downs, struggles and hard work that went into it. In addition, I think of all the people who have made it possible, from my friends, teammates, family, and coaches, all the way to UMO staff and my professors. It is as much their success as it is mine and I am deeply grateful to have had the help of all of them."
Click here for results to the European Cross Country Championships.
Dahlke's teammate Adam Craig went to the British Athletics Cross Challenge backed by his native Scotland vying for a place on the British U23 team and a spot at the European Cross Country Championships.
He was chosen by the Scottish Athletics Committee, which is the governing body for Track and Field/Cross Country in Scotland. Craig shared the race conditions saying, "they were very muddy, wet and windy and that made for really hard running conditions." He went on to finish the race in 49th out of 635 runners with a time of 32:37.
Craig competed at the British Athletics Cross Championships following a successful senior season during which he earned his second All-American honor with a 10th place finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
"After my 10th place finish at the Cross Country Nationals on November 18, I knew I was in good form," said Craig. "I knew if things went perfectly for me then there would an opportunity to represent Great Britain for the first time. It has always been a dream of mine and to be in a position to think that was a possibility, was something I really enjoyed. Racing against some top class athletes in that race and also the top runners in my age-group gave me a chance to see what improvements I've made and the ones still to be made. Wearing the Scotland kit (uniform) made it even more special as I was part of something that was bigger than just me and my teammates. People cheered and shouted for me just because I had Scotland across my chest and that support helped a lot. I'm glad I came home and I had the opportunity to see where I am, but I'm looking forward to what is still to come."
Craig continued on by saying, "I never want to cap the possibilities of my future or limit myself, so I wouldn't say there is not a chance of competing at the Olympics. I think the chances of that are small, but it's definitely something in the back of my head. For now though, I'm just looking to keep progressing in myself and picking up international representation in any way for Scotland or hopefully onto the next step for Great Britain."
Click here for results to the British Athletics Cross Championships.