SPOKANE, Wash. – The NCAA Division II National Cross County meet returns to the Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex Saturday for the second time in three years.
Women’s Race (6k): 10:30am (PT), 1:30 pm (EST)
Men’s Race (10k): 11:30am (PT), 2:30 pm (EST)
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Thirty-two men’s and 32 women’s teams will compete for the national team title. In addition, 26 men and 25 women qualified for the meet as individuals.
The women’s 6,000-meter race kicks off the competition at 10:30 a.m. followed by the men’s 10,000-meter run at 11:30 a.m.
Adams State is the defending men’s team champion. The Grizzlies, who have won four of the last five national titles, come in as the No. 1 ranked team in the latest USTFCCCA poll. Western State (Colo.), which won the team title in the 2011 meet at Plantes Ferry, is ranked second.
Grand Valley State (Mich.), which is the No. 1 ranked team in the latest national poll, is the defending women’s team champion. Adams State, which won seven straight national team titles between 2003 and 2009, is ranked second.
Thirty-five past All-Americans – 17 men and 18 women – are available to compete in the national meet.
The top returnees from last year’s national meet are Adams State’s Kevin Batt and Susan Tanui of the University of Alaska Anchorage. Both athletes finished second a year ago.
Batt is one of four returning All-Americans for the Grizzlies, though John Luterbach who placed 15th in the 2012 meet, did not run in the South Central Regional two weeks ago in Canyon, Tex. He is on the travel squad, but may or may not run Saturday.
The other two returning All-Americans for Adams are Tabor Stevens, who placed third and Jovanny Godinez, who finished 28th in the 2012 championships.
The only other returnee from last year’s Men’s Top 10 is Alex Monroe of Lock Haven, who placed fifth. Two weeks ago Monroe won the Atlantic Regional individual title for the third year in a row. Monroe, who placed 10th in 2011 and 32nd 2010, will be seeking his fourth All-American award (Top 40 finish).
Isaac Chavez of Chico State will also be seeking his fourth All-American prize. He finished 13th in the 2012 national meet, fifth in 2010 and third in the 2011 meet in Spokane. Chavez earned his fourth straight Top 5 finish in winning the West Regional individual title on Nov. 9 in Spokane.
Colorado Mines has four returnees from last year’s Top 40 – Phil Schneider (20th), Derek Alcorn (22nd), Andrew Epperson (29th) and Frank Socha (36th).
Tanui, who has won the last two West Regional titles, is one of six women back from last year’s Top 10.
Also returning to challenge Tanui will be Jessica Janecke (4th) and Allyson Winchester (6th) of Grand Valley State, Augustana’s Runa Falch (8th) and Kristin Brondbo (10th) and Julie Pack of Western State (9th). Augustana was the 2011 team champion in Spokane.
Grand Valley and Adams State each return three All-Americans from last year. In addition to Janecke and Winchester, Hannah Osborn (26th) also is back for the Lakers. The Grizzlies return Kelly Lamb (13th), Lauren Martin (38th) and Alyssa Selve (39th).
Seven GNAC Teams Represented in National Meet
Athletes from seven of the’s 10 schools will be represented at Plantes Ferry.
Qualifying for the men’s championship were Alaska Anchorage and Western Washington. The Seawolves are ranked 10th nationally and the Vikings are ranked 19th.
GNAC teams claimed four of the five West Region berths in the women’s division, led by Region champion Alaska Anchorage which is ranked fourth nationally. Simon Fraser which is ranked sixth, No. 19 Seattle Pacific and No. 25 Western Washington also qualified.
Three GNAC athletes – Connie Morgan of Central Washington, Natalie Evans of Northwest Nazarene and Annie Wade of Western Oregon – also qualified as individuals.
CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES: Tickets for Saturday’s championships are $5. Children under 2 will be admitted free … Live video will be available at ncaa.com. … Grand Valley’s two teams come to Spokane after winning their 13th (women) and 12th (men) consecutive Midwest Regional titles … Johnnie Guy of Southern Indiana won the men’s Midwest Regional title. The former Division II 5,000 and 10,000 meter track All-American, will be joined in Saturday’s race by his identical twin brother, Josh … Among the competitors in the women’s race will be Ashley Nichols from Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Wash. Nichols competes for Bentley (Mass.).