November 18, 2012

Men's Cross Country NCAA Championship Round-Up

TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- North Central College won its third NCAA Division III Men's Cross Country National Championship in the past four seasons in Saturday's national meet at the LaVern Gibson Course.

John Crain led the individual effort for North Central with a sixth-place finish in a time of 24:43.  Dan Kerley also earned All-American honors and provided depth with a 14th place finish in a time of 24:48.

North Central won its second consecutive national championship with a team score of 167.  Calvin and Haverford tied for second place with 188 points, followed by Wisconsin-La Crosse with 190.  Washington University rounded out the top five with 226 points.

Rounding out the top 10 in team scoring were Bates, Tufts, Middlebury, Wheaton (Illinois) and Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

"The strategy was one word and one word alone, and that was the team dynamic.  I know it's sounds corny but our strategy was to tap into the team.  The team was going to carry us through the season and through this race," said North Central head coach Allen Carius.

The title also marks the 15th national championship for North Central in the 30-year history of the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships.

"I'm still kind of in shock.  It always feels fantastic to be national champions, but what's most important is not the label but the experiences that we share the entire year," said Carius.

Individually, Tim Nelson of Wisconsin-Stout won the eight-kilometer national championship in convincing fashion with a time of 24:26.

"My strategy was to stay relaxed for the first 2K and not slow down on the winding turns," said Nelson.  "I told myself before the race that if I didn't win, I'd be okay with it as long as I gave everything I had.  To be able to do that and win the race, it's very satisfying." 

Bobby Over of Allegheny came home second in 24:34, followed by Grant Wintheiser of St. Olaf (24:35), Kevin Sparks of Washington University (24:37) and Tully Hannan of Bates (24:39).

The top 10 individuals also included Crain, Tim Hartunk of York (Pa.), Noah Droddy of DePauw, Coby Horowitz of Bowdoin and Alex Brimstein of Geneseo State.

The event marks the first time Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has hosted the NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championship and the 10th time that the LaVern Gibson Course has hosted a national event.  The Course has also served of the NCAA Division I championships from 2004-11.