Comfortable confidence fuels Foresters cross country

November 9, 2019


The Huntington University men’s and women’s cross country teams are in the midst of a quick turnaround that has catapult the Foresters to one of the top programs in the country.

“I can’t say enough good things about the overall dynamic of the team,” head coach Nicholas Johnson tells “It’s a family - and that’s really a testament to the quality of people we already had in place and adding to that.”

Both teams hope to keep surging into the Crossroads League Championships on Saturday, November 9, and the NAIA National Championships, which start November 22.  In the NAIA coaches poll unveiled October 31, the men moved up to No. 10 and the women sit at No. 21.

The Foresters have piled up individual awards, too. Junior Adrien Gentie, of Cours, France, NAIA Men’s National Runner of the Week and Crossroads League Men’s Runner of the Week the first two weeks of the season; freshman Haile Stutzman, of Silverton, Oregon, added the conference recognition three times this season; and junior Hannah Stoffel took home NAIA National Women’s Runner of the Week once and Crossroads League Women’s Runner of the Week four times this season.

In two years so far, Huntington runners have tallied 8 All-America honors, 7 All-Conference honors and 11 conference badges. Sixteen athletes have competed at nationals.

“Coach has placed a really strong vision in front of us, and he has pushed us to believe that for ourselves,” Stoffel says. The Huntington North High School graduate transferred to Huntington University from Indiana University this fall. “It’s been so great to come back and have the support I’ve had throughout high school, and reconnect with people.”

Johnson, who himself earned NAIA All-America honors when he ran at Huntington, has ushered in high expectations for his alma mater. He added his wife, Lauren, a U.S. Olympic Trials distance runner, and Curtis Hines, a Huntington Athletics hall-of-famer, to the coaching staff. Early on, he issued 3 years worth of goals that included developing All-Americans and individual national qualifiers in Year 1, team national qualifiers and potential individual national champs in Year 2 and a run at the team national titles in Year 3.

“Each workout we do gives us confidence in how close they are to the actual race feel,” Stutzman adds. “Depending on each other and bringing everyone together is fueling us.”

They saw that vision, and they trusted in that,” Nicholas Johnson adds. “It’s been a really good mesh between last year’s team, the recruits we brought in and what we’re looking to do in the future.”



Huntington University is one of five universities that partners with Parkview Sports Medicine for athletic training, nutrition, sports performance training, athletic rehabilitation and other orthopedic and sports medicine services for Forester student-athletes. Learn more at

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