JOPLIN, Mo. — Led by three Grizzlies who were amongst the top-four finishers, Adams State won its NCAA Division II record ninth and 21st overall national title Saturday at the campus of Missouri Southern State.
The Grizzlies had five of the top-15 finishers and had all seven runners finish amongst the top 28 en-route to a team score of just 34 points. Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference rival Colorado Mines finished with 102 points.
ASU’s arch-rival Western State Colorado finished in sixth, the Mountaineers’ worst placing in 21 all-time NCAA Division II championship appearances. Alaska-Anchorage took third with 147 behind the leadership of individual national champion Micah Chelimo.
|2012 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP|
Augustana (S.D.) finished fourth with 182 to edge Chico State (Calif.) by one point. The Mountaineers finished with 194 points.
Chelimo finished the 10,000-meter course in a time of 28 minutes, 56.6 seconds before Grizzly redshirt freshman Kevin Batt out-raced sophomore teammate Tabor Stevens by a tenth of a second for second. Batt finished in 29:12.1 while Grizzly sophomore Matt Daniels, part of the lead pack throughout, finished fourth in 29:16.2.
Grizzly senior David Sanchez finished 12th in 29:49.6 before sophomore John Luterbach completed the team title with a 16th place finish in 29:57.0.
Senior Andrew Roberts and junior Jovanny Godinez also showcased the Grizzlies’ impressive depth as they finished 25th and 28th with times of 30:09.6 and 30:10.1, respectively.
Batt, Stevens and Daniels were all a part of a lead-pack of 11 that separated from the field in the early going. That pack, which all crossed the mid-way split between 14:20 and 14:22, was gradually whittled down, but was never without the Grizzlies’ front three until Chelimo pulled away down the stretch to claim the Seawolves’ first individual championship.
Stevens also remained in 12th throughout much of the race while Luterbach moved up five spots from a 20th place standing at the mid-point.
The Grizzlies, who posted the meet’s largest margin of victory since the meet was also held here in 1999, have now won four of the last five NCAA Division II titles. They also won the 1992 title with a perfect score of 15 and claimed titles in 1993, 1994, 1998 and 2003 before starting their more recent string of three consecutive titles in 2008.
Adams State had also won an NAIA record 12 national titles before moving up to the Division II ranks in 1992.
On Saturday, the Grizzlies’ top five had an average time of 29:29.4 and a pack time of just 44.8 seconds. The Grizzlies’ top five beat their Oredigger counterparts by an average of 34.4 seconds per man and were more than a minute per man quicker than WSCU, which had finished second behind the Grizzlies at the NCAA Division II South Regional Championships on Nov. 3 in Denver.