Eric Avila

Oklahoma City wins first-ever NAIA Men’s Cross Country Title; Avila seals 8k crown

Eric Avila of runner-up Southern Oregon takes home individual title

Eric Avila
Eric Avila of Southern Oregon wins individual NAIA 8k title. PHOTO: Gary Smith

LAWRENCE, Kan. — (Results) Oklahoma City brought home the team title at the 58th Annual NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championships Saturday at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan.

The Stars, who were ranked No. 5 nationally in the final regular-season poll, ran a combined 8-kilometer time of 2:05:11 and accumulated 77 total points to best the 32-team field.

Four of the scoring five for the Stars earned All-America honors, led by Peter Koskey, who finished eighth overall with an 8k time of 24:47. The other Oklahoma City runners to be named All-Americans were: Arya Bahreini (11th), Chris Lowrey (22nd) and Mackenzie Wahephah-Harri (25th).

The 2013 Men’s Cross Country National Championships team title is the first in program history for Oklahoma City.

Southern Oregon, which was ranked No. 1 heading into the meet, placed second as a team—with 124 points—and ran a combined 8k time of 2:05:18. The result gives the Raiders back-to-back runner-up finishes at the NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championships.

Cascade Collegiate Conference individual titlist and two-time Runner of the Week (Oct. 2, Oct. 30) Eric Avila led the way for Southern Oregon, outpacing the 313-runner field to earn the individual title. Avila covered the 8k course in 24:02, besting runner-up Sam Atkin of Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) by 19 seconds.

Rounding out the top five individuals were Mizael Carrera of Robert Morris (Ill.) with a time of 24:25; Andrew Reidsma of Trinity Christian (Ill.), who finished in 24:36; and Ethan Gallagher of Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), who covered the course in 24:38.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the meet was Emmanuel (Ga.), champions of the Southern States Athletic Conference, placing third with 148 points and a combined team time of 2:06:31.The finish is the highest all-time for the team, which had been ranked No. 13 in the NAIA prior to the National Championships

Rounding out the top five teams were defending national champion St. Francis (Ill.) (157 points) and Aquinas (Mich.) (185 points). The programs were ranked No. 3 and No. 6, respectively, in the final regular-season Top 25.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.