NCAA Cross Country wrap-up

11-23-2009

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Jim Estes
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USA Track & Field
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Bizzarri, Chelanga win individual titles at NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships

INDIANAPOLIS - University of Illinois senior Angela Bizzarri surprised the women's field and 2008 runner-up Samuel Chelanga, a junior from Liberty University, dominated the men's field Monday at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships Monday in Terre Haute, Ind. Chelanga was timed in a course record 28:42 for the men's 10 km and Bizzarri ran 19:47 for the women's 6 km.

The men's race, the first of the day, saw Chelanga jump to an early lead which was never threatened. His winning margin was 25 seconds over Northern Arizona University junior David McNeil.

Oklahoma State was led by senior Ryan Vail as the Cowboys scored 127 points to take the men's team title, defeating defending team champions from the University of Oregon by 16 points.

Many anticipated a run-away win in the women's race as well, with Colorado University senior Jenny Barringer the overwhelming favorite. As she dueled with Florida State senior Susan Kuijken through three kilometers, it was apparent that the American record holder had a race on her hands. Shortly after the 3 km mark, Kuijken surged to the lead and Barringer faltered, quickly losing ground. Over the next 2 km, Kuijken looked to be on her way to the title, and as Bizzarri and University of Washington sophomore Kendra Schaaf seemed to be engaged in a duel for second, they began to close the gap.

Making the final turn with about 500 meters remaining, Bizzarri and Schaaf went by Kuijken and began the long sprint home. Bizzarri steadily accelerated to pull clear of Schaaf, winning by five seconds.

Villanova University took the women's team title with 86 points, defeating Florida State by 47 points. Defending team champion Washington finished third with 188.

Adams State wins NCAA D-II cross country titles

For the second consecutive year, Adams State's men's and women's teams won their respective team titles under warm and sunny skies Saturday at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships at Southern Indiana University in Evansville, Ind.

Heavy favorites going into the competition, Adam State's senior-laden men's squad dominated by scoring 23 points to secure their second consecutive title.

Reuben Mwei won the race in 30 minutes, 27 seconds, while fellow seniors Aaron Braun (31:08) and Brian Medigovich (31:12) secured third- and fourth-place team points. Only Harding's Daniel Kirwa, the second overall finisher, who was four-tenths of a second behind Mwei, interrupted a 1-2-3 team score for Adams State.

Rival Western State took second with 86 points, behind by a larger margin than a year ago when Adams State prevailed 67-88. Colorado School of Mines finished third (153) points, making it a Colorado state sweep for the top three teams.

Also in Evansville on Saturday, Seattle Pacific senior Jessica Pixler became the first ever to win the women's NCAA D-II individual title on three occasions. Pixler finished the 6 km course in 20 minutes, 22 seconds in winning by an eight-second margin.

Behind Pixler in second place was fellow West Region runner Sarah Porter, of Western Washington. Missouri Southern claimed the third and fourth overall spots, with junior Ashley Siler (20:43) and senior Kimi Shank (20:44).

Grand Valley State (Allendale, Mich.), took the top ranking to Evansville after winning the Midwest Regional for the ninth consecutive year. But when it mattered most the Lakers couldn't live up to the billing, scoring 81 points to finish second to Adams State's winning tally of 73 points.

North Central wins NCAA Division III men's crown by huge margin

North Central (Ill.) dominated the competition in the men's race, and Wisconsin Eau-Claire won the women's competition Saturday at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships hosted by Baldwin-Wallace College at Highland Park Golf Course in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Cardinals total of 50 points ran away with the team championship, giving them a 131-point victory over second-place Williams College, which is the largest in the history of the Division III men's national meet. It was North Central's 13th team championship in school history, but first since 1999.

All seven of North Central's runners finished in the top 35 to earn All-American status, even though only the top five counted in the team scoring. Senior Ryan Carrigan was sixth, senior Nathaniel Hird was 13th, sophomore Neal Klein was 19th, senior Kyle Brady was 21st, sophomore Ben Sathre was 26th and senior Sean Carlson was 32nd.

The second place team finish was a pleasant surprise for Williams, which entered the meet ranked 10th by the USTCCCA. Allegheny was third, NYU was fourth and SUNY-Cortland, which won the team event last year, finished fifth.

Lynchburg senior Ricky Flynn won the individual competition over last year's champion, Hamilton's Peter Kosgei, pulling away in the final mile on a soggy course to the finish in 25 minutes, 9.8 seconds and win his first national championship as a senior. Kosgei collapsed shy of the finish line, and finished 43rd.

Flynn's 22-second victory over North Central (Ill.) junior Michael Spain is one of the largest in the 37-year history of the men's Division III race. Williams senior Edgar Kosgey finished third, St. Lawrence junior Dan Ramsey was fourth and Wisconsin-Platteville junior Jason Garvens was fifth.

Wendy Pavlus of St. Lawrence started strong and held the lead in winning the women's individual title in a course-record time of 21 minutes, 28 seconds. Pavlus was 17.8 seconds faster than last year's winner, Marie Borner of Bethel (Minn.), who needed a strong kick at the finish to take second.

Pavlus, a junior, has advanced to nationals all three years. She was 50th as a freshman and 20th last season, when a poor start had her trapped among the masses.

Senior Ayla Mitchell (Wisconsin-Oshkosh) was third, followed by DePauw senior Lauren Reich and Oberlin junior Joanna Johnson.

Pavlus' win keyed St. Lawrence to a second-place finish in the team competition, nine points behind champions Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The national title was the second in school history, but the first in Division III. Their 1984 squad won the NAIA championship.

Sophomore Alyssa Sybilrud was the Blugolds' top finisher in 21st place. Junior Margaret Ho (33rd) was also an All-American. Junior Beth Easker (44th), senior Hannah Humbach (45th) and senior Jenna Smith (109th) rounded out Wisconsin-Eau Claire's scoring.

For more information on the NCAA Cross Country Championships visit www.ncaa.com.