Dec. 2, 2010

Adams State women seek eighth consecutive championship

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Few things in recent years have been as certain as an Adams State national title in the Division II Womens Cross Country Championships, but this year may provide a glimmer of hope for the rest of the field.
The Grizzlies stand atop the Division II rankings as usual as they prepare for Saturdays national championship. They have won the last seven championships, including last years eight-point win over Grand Valley State, which poses the greatest threat to the Grizzly eight-peat.

The Grizzlies are paced by Central regional winner Kristen McGlynn and Alicia Nelson, who led the team at last years championship with a ninth-place overall finish.

The national rankings might suggest a vulnerability for Adams State. The Grizzlies were ranked third in the next-to-last listing before vaulting their way to the top spot after the regionals. Adams State also finished second at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference meet (to Western State), although that outcome - and the lower ranking − may have been influenced by the absence of Nelson, who was out with an injury.

Grand Valley State topped the national rankings before the Division II regionals, and the Lakers appear to have the right stuff to make a run at the title. The Lakers won their 10th consecutive Midwest regional title in November, paced by Katherine McCarty, who finished 15th overall at the 2009 national meet. Sarah Dugan led a 4/5/7/8 pack that secured the regional championship for the Lakers. Grand Valley State also dominated the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet, tallying a mere 18 points in a romp.

Shippensburg State from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference is ranked third nationally. The three-time defending Atlantic region champions are familiar with the course at E.P. Tom” Sawyer State Park, having run in the Greater Louisville Classic in October. In that event, the Lady Raiders finished fourth, ahead of several Division I programs including Kentucky, Missouri and Mississippi State. Neely Spence and Mary Dell lead the Lady Raiders.
The national championship will be conducted over a 6,000-meter course. The forecast for the noon ET start is for a temperature in the mid-30s, with rain or snow likely.

Adams State looks to go wire-to-wire atop DII mens cross country

A Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference rival and a threat from the Midwest are expected to test Adams State as the Grizzlies attempt to post their eighth Division II mens cross country championship Saturday.

The challengers will have their work cut out for them. The Grizzlies have been atop the national rankings all year, a status they reinforced with a dominant performance at the Central region championships in November when they posted a seven-man pack time of 18.2 seconds and rolled to a 29-point lead over RMAC rival Western State.
Senior Luke Cragg led the Grizzlies at the regional meet with a third-place finish, with a wave of teammates following behind in fifth through 10th places. Among them was RMAC champion Ryan McNiff.

No. 2 Western State is accustomed to battling with Adams State on the national stage. Western State and Adams State have won 10 of the last 12 Division II mens titles and 14 of the last 20.

Western State is led by Sean Brown, who was nipped by .01 second at the regional meet by Ben Zywicki of Colorado School of Mines, which is ranked No. 4 nationally. Fellow Mountaineer Ryan Haebe was the top freshman at the meet, finishing 11th.

The non-RMAC team that poses the greatest threat to Adams State is Grand Valley State, which romped to the Midwest regional title with a stellar 21-point performance. The effort boosted the Lakers from fifth in the national rankings to third. It came on the heels a perfect 15-point performance at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet. The Lakers are led by Tyler Emmorey, who claimed the regional championship, finishing .05 seconds ahead of teammate Anthony Witt.

Colorado School of Mines and West region champion Chico State round out the top five teams.
The Division II Mens Cross Country Championships will be conducted at Louisvilles E.P. Tom” Sawyer State Park as part of the fall Division II National Championships Festival. The 10-kilometer race will begin at 11 a.m. ET. The forecast is for cold weather, with rain and snow possible
Adams State is a two-time defending champion.