2017 NAIA Cross Country National Championships Preview
Vancouver, Wash. – More than 675 student-athletes will toe the line at the Fort Vancouver Historic Site Saturday at either the 62nd annual Men’s Cross Country National Championships or the 38th annual Women’s Cross Country National Championships. The men’s 8K race opens the day at 10:30 a.m. PST, followed by the women’s 5K race at 11:30 a.m.
The NAIA Network – the association’s official video streaming home – will broadcast the national championships awards ceremony for free at approximately 3 p.m. PST. The video platform, powered by Stretch Internet, allows users access to live video content on a number of devices. To access the free live video, visit www.NAIANetwork.com.
2017 NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championships Notes
• Defending national champion Southern Oregon enters the event looking to be the 13th program in NAIA history to win consecutive team titles. The Raiders, fueled by four of the teams five scorers finishing in the top 10, locked down their 10th-straight Cascade Collegiate Conference team title earlier this month. Noah Oberitter was Southern Oregon’s top racer at the event, finishing in third-place with a time of 25:33.07.
• According to the final regular-season coaches’ poll, British Columbia is the favorite to win the team title at this year’s event. The Thunderbirds return three top 30 finishers from last year’s championships – Jesse Hooton (fourth-place in 2016), John Gay (fifth-place in 2016) and Kieran Lumb (26th-place in 2016). British Columbia has never won a men’s team title. British Columbia took third-place last season – the best team finish in program history at the NAIA championships.
• Geoffrey Kipchumba of William Carey (Miss.) highlights the individuals in the men’s field. The senior from Eldoret, Kenya, won the 2015 individual title and finished second last season. Kipchumba finished first in four-of-five events this season.
• Overall, there will be 12 2016 All-Americans in this year’s field.
For more details on the 2017 NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championships, click here.
2017 NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships Notes
• British Columbia is seeking its fifth national title in the last six seasons this weekend. The Thunderbirds, who claimed their first-ever national championship at the Fort Vancouver Historic Site in 2012, cruised to the title last season as four of the club’s top five finished among the top 30.
• Nicola Symonds is the top championship returner for British Columbia. The sophomore took 14th last year with a time of 17:35.73. The Calgary native was the individual medalist at the 2017 NAIA Association of Independent Institutions Cross Country Championships on November 4.
• Defending national champion Aminat Olowora of Oklahoma City enters the race as the individual favorite to win the title. At last year’s championships, Olowora set a new NAIA championship record with a winning time of 16:24.28 on the 5k course. The senior boasts nine individual titles in nine career races at Oklahoma City. With a win on Saturday, Olowora will be the first individual to win back-to-back crowns since Hillary Holt of College of Idaho accomplished the feat in 2012 and 2013.
• Overall, there will be 11 2016 All-Americans in this year’s field.
For more details on the 2017 NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships, click here.