Oklahoma City, British Colombia Retained NAIA Cross Country National Crowns

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Maria Bernard of British Colombia

British Colombia women made it three-times in a row, while Oklahoma City secures back-to-back NAIA Cross Country National team titles after dominating here at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kansas, on Saturday

Maria Bernard of British Colombia
Maria Bernard leads British Colombia to NAIA Cross Country women’s title.

LAWRENCE, Kan. (Sporting Alert, Men’s Results |  Women’s Results) — Defending champions Oklahoma City and British Colombia both retained their respective NAIA Cross Country National Championships titles at the Rim Rock Farm here in Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday.

Led by senior pacer Maria Bernard, who won the individual women’s 5k title, fellow senior Amelie de Fenoyl, who finished third and sophomore Natalie Hawthorn (4th), British Colombia secured the female crown after scoring 43 points at the meet.

The No. 1 Thunderbirds, who were winning the team title for the third consecutive year, had four runners crossing the line in the top 10, with their fifth runner finishing 29th overall.

“I am so happy that we won the team title,” Sandra Kilmartin, who finished 39th overall said after the race.

Finishing second in the team race was Lewis Clark with 141 points, Northwest Christian took third with 181 points, while Carroll (234) and Dordt (235) completed the top five.

Bernard ran away with the women’s individual crown after posting 17:03.80 to top the 336 member field. She beat Hannah Fields of Oklahoma Baptist who followed up her second place finish last season with another runner-up slot this year — clocking 17:34.40.

Bernard ran very close to Fields during the early part of the race before separating from the OBU senior after the two mile mark on her way to a dominating victory.

Fields, who took home the victory at Pre-Nationals in Oct., had no answer for Bernard’s late surge.

De Fenoyl was third in 17:39.29, her teammate Hawthorn was fourth in 17:45.20, with the top five places completed by Lindsey Martin of Colombia (17:48.00).

On the men’s side, No. 1 Oklahoma City also eased to victory on Saturday with a team score of 55 points.

Southern Oregon took second once again with 113 points, with third going to Olivet Nazarene on 142 points. Eastern Oregon (144) and Aquinas (183) round out the top five finishers.

The Stars were led by junior Peter Koskey, who clocked 24:44.20 for third place in the 8K and Csaba Matko, who was fifth in 24:54.30.

Wayland Baptist sophomore Benard Keter took home the individual crown after he posted 24:36.40 to beat DJ Flores of Eastern Oregon (24:41.30).

Keter ran close to the leaders in the early stages of the race before increasing the tempo after three miles.

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