Nov. 18, 2010
Contact: Amanda Dahl, NAIA Manager of Sports Information and Media Services, firstname.lastname@example.org
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The 55th Annual NAIA Men's and 31st Annual Women's Cross Country National Championships will take place Saturday at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash. The women's 5K is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. PST, followed by the men's 8K at 11:45 a.m.
The 2010 National Championships are hosted by the Cascade Collegiate Conference and Concordia (Ore.). It is the second-consecutive year that the event has been held at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Both the reigning women's team and individual national champion will look to defend their titles from a year ago. California State-San Marcos headlines the 32-team women's field, which features 24 conference/independent/unaffiliated group champions and eight at-large selections. The Cougars captured their first-ever team title last year with 137 points to runner-up Biola's (Calif.) 140. The three-point spread was the smallest margin of victory in the event's history.
Shorter (Ga.) senior Justyna Mudy will be back to defend her crown and look to become just the fifth woman in the event's history to repeat as the national champion. The last individual to win back-to-back titles was Mirriam Kaumba of Oklahoma Baptist in 2003 and 2004. Mudy will also be looking to cap off her senior campaign with a third-straight top-five finish. As a sophomore, she placed third in the championship by completing the 5K Wayne E. Dannehl Cross Country Course in Kenosha, Wis., in 17:06.1.
Five of the qualifying teams have previously captured the team title. Simon Fraser (B.C.) has won taken home the banner 10 times, which is the most in NAIA women's cross country history. The Clan's last national championship came in 2007 and marked their fifth-straight title. Azusa Pacific (Calif.) won its first and only crown in 2008 to end Simon Fraser's reign on top. Other qualifying teams that have taken top-honors that will be in action in Vancouver include Cedarville (Ohio) and Malone (Ohio), winning in 2001 and 1999, respectively.
On the men's side, Malone (Ohio) will vie for its fourth-consecutive and the program's fifth title overall among the 32-team field. Twenty-three of the 32 qualifying teams won their respective conference/independent/unaffiliated group race and eight additional teams earned an at-large berth to the event. Concordia received the host berth.
Oklahoma Christian's two-time All-American and defending national champion Silas Kisorio will be eyeing a second title. He took top-honors as a sophomore and became the Eagles' first-ever titlist, finishing the 8K course at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in 24:23. The junior has the opportunity to become the 13th male runner to rightfully defend his championship. Azusa Pacific's (Calif.) Aron Rono was the last competitor to do so, winning the event in 2007 and 2008. As a freshman in 2008, Kisorio placed 28th running at the Wayne E. Dannehl Cross Country Course in Kenosha, Wis.
Malone is the only team qualifier that has previously held the banner. The Pioneers have won their past three national championships by an average of 107.33 points, including a 122-point spread in 2009 to runner-up Concordia (Neb.) (166 points). All five of Malone's runners placed among the top 30 and garnered All-America accolades. The last program to win four-straight titles was Life (Ga.), no longer a cross country member of the NAIA, who reigned supreme from 1998-2001.
Friday's NAIA Awards Ceremony honoring NAIA-Daktronics Scholar-Athletes, individuals and teams who have earned "Champions of Character" designation and conference coaches of the year with be streamed live. The ceremony is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. PST and conclude at 5:45 p.m. To access the free live stream, courtesy of CCC member Corban (Ore.) and the CCC, click here.