TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – For a consecutive season, North Central (Ill.) persevered past the 32-team field at the NCAA Division III National Championship on Saturday, held at LaVern Gibson Championship Course.
North Central sat in fifth place after the 7,000-meter mark of the 8,000-meter course, but the Cardinals were able to outlast the field, maneuvering past runners during the final thousand meters, en route to their 15th National Men’s Cross Country Championship.
“We really pulled it out in the last quarter mile,” head coach Al Carius said. “We knew we had to build as the race went on because it was a tougher course than it appears. We waited until the last second to pull it out, but fortunately that’s the way the season has gone.”
North Central recorded 167 total team points while the next three places were all very close. Calvin and Haverford finished tied for second place, each amassing 188 points. Wisconsin-LaCrosse finished fourth with 190 team points and Washington (Mo.) rounded out the top-five compiling 226 total points.
Junior John Crain paced the Cardinals with a sixth-place finish, earning his first All-American accolade, crossing the tape in 24:43.5. Dan Kerley was the next Cardinal to cross the finish line, ending his career with a 14th-place finish in a time of 24:48.50, also earning his first All-America certificate.
|2012 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP|
Roger Klein finished the course in a time of 25:12.20, good for 44th-place while Yonatan Mascote finished close behind in 50th-place, crossing the tape in 25:17.40. Tim Hird rounded out the scoring for the Cardinals finishing in 121st-place, with a time of 25:50.40.
“We knew the course was going to be tough, so the two things we preached [Saturday] were patience and confidence,” Crain said. “The first loop we wanted to be patient and the second lap we wanted confidence to finish off and stay strong through the whole race. That’s how we’ve been racing this year and somehow we finished it out with determination.”
Tim Nelson of Wisconsin-Stout claimed the individual championship, completing the course in a time of 24:26.80.
North Central is the only school to appear in all 40 NCAA Division III Men’s Cross Country Championships and has finished among the top four on 36 occasions.