By Chad Waller | NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced that the 2013 and 2014 NAIA Men's and Women's Cross Country National Championships will be hosted by the Lawrence Sports Corporation and the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The 2013 national championships are scheduled for Nov. 23, and the 2014 event will be Nov. 22. Rim Rock Farm will serve as the venue.
Rim Rock Farm has hosted national events such as the 2007 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championship, the 1998 NCAA Division I and II Cross Country National Championships and the 2006 Big 12 (NCAA Division I) Cross Country Conference Championships. In addition to having two covered bridges as part of the course, Rim Rock Farm also features a number of distinctive features and spectator observation areas.
This is the first time the event will be held in Lawrence, Kan., and just the second time in the 56-year men's history and 32-year women's history that it will take place in the state of Kansas. The city of Salina served as host from 1973 - 75 and again in 1980.
"We are very pleased to take the NAIA Cross Country National Championships to Rim Rock Farm for 2013 and 2014," said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. "The welcoming atmosphere provided by both the Lawrence community and the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, combined with the opportunity to run on one of the most prestigious cross country courses in the country, will provide NAIA student-athletes with a memorable and rewarding championship experience."
The Lawrence Sports Corporation was created to market and promote Lawrence as the preferred destination for athletics events that benefit the community both economically and socially. Conveniently located between Topeka and Kansas City, Lawrence is known for its cultural ambiance, upscale and lively downtown district, museums and nightlife.
"The Lawrence community is excited to serve as host for this great event," said Bob Sanner, Lawrence Sports Corporation Executive Director. "Placing the NAIA Championships at Rim Rock, a true championship-caliber course, is consistent with the vision coach Bob Timmons had when he designed this venue. I view it as a perfect fit."
Timmons owned the land where Rim Rock is situated and donated the land in 2004 to the University of Kansas. The course was the vision of Timmons, who, during his 23-year tenure at Kansas, won four cross country conference championships.
The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC), commonly called "The Kansas Conference," is a prominent intercollegiate athletics conference comprised of ten institutions of higher education in the state. The origins of the KCAC are traced back to Feb. 15, 1890, when the Kansas Intercollegiate Athletic Association became the result of the first successful attempt at organization among Kansas colleges, "to promote and regulate amateur intercollegiate athletics." In about 1902, this early association became allied with the Kansas College Athletic Conference.
Today, the KCAC sponsors conference intercollegiate athletics in football, volleyball, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's soccer, women's soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's indoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, women's outdoor track and field, baseball, softball, men's golf, women's tennis, and men's tennis.
"The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and its member institutions are proud and excited to partner with the city of Lawrence and the NAIA in bringing the 2013 and 2014 Men's and Women's Cross Country National Championship Meets to Kansas," said Scott Crawford, KCAC Commissioner. "This is a tremendous opportunity for the KCAC to be involved with hosting NAIA championship-level events. We look forward to being the host conference and serving the advancing teams and individual qualifiers when they travel to Rim Rock Farm. They will be in for a wonderful experience."
There are currently 199 NAIA Men's and 204 Women's Cross Country varsity programs. The 2012 national championships will be run in Vancouver, Wash., Nov. 17. The women's 5K will begin at 10:30 a.m. PST, with the men's 8K to follow at approximately 11:45 a.m. The awards ceremony at approximately 2:30 p.m. will be streamed live and available free by clicking here.
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of sport. Through Champions of Character, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.