Oct. 17, 2010


Courtesy of Adams State

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Competing against three top-ten Division I teams according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) poll and four top-25 Division II squads, the No. 1-ranked and two-time NCAA Division II defending national champion Adams State mens cross country team ran its way to a fourth-place finish in the 50-team field at the University of Arkansas-hosted Chile Pepper Festival on Saturday morning.

The seven-time defending Division II champion womens team, ranked second in Division II, also placed fourth in the womens 5-kilometer race which included 56 teams. Senior Kristen McGlynn (Bailey, Colo.) led the Grizzlies and placed second overall.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys, the defending NCAA Division I National Champions and currently ranked No. 2, took top honors in the mens 10k college race with a team score of 22 points. Cowboy runners, led by Colby Lowe who placed eighth at nationals in 2009, took each of the top four spots in the mens race.

The only other teams to finish ahead of the Grizzlies, who compiled 134 team points, were the two other top-ten Division I squads in Fayetteville on Saturday. Seventh-ranked Indiana University and the host Razorbacks, ranked sixth by the USTFCCCA, finished second and third, respectively. The Hoosiers fifth runner and Arkansas fifth runner were separated by just one spot, giving Indiana a 73-74 edge.

Saturday was just the second time in the Adams State mens A” squad last 18 meets that they have not won, and snaps a streak of five straight meet wins. The last time the Grizzlies A” squad didnt top the podium was at last falls Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla., where ASC placed third behind Division I powers Northern Arizona and William & Mary while defeating the eventual national champions on their home course.

All 11 Adams State runners recorded or established ASC cross country 10k PRs on the course and were led by a 17th-place finish from senior Ryan McNiff (Las Alamos, N.M.), who was the top Grizzly for the third time in as many meets this season. The Grizzlies were the only Division II team in the top-10, and were joined by only one other non-Division I team, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) 20th-ranked Oklahoma Christian Eagles, who placed ninth with 329 points. Augstana (S.D.), ranked eighth in Division II, placed 12th with 389 points, and fellow Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) squad Fort Lewis was 32nd with 860.

In all, ASC topped 23 NCAA Division I teams at the Chile Pepper Festival, including 21st-ranked University of Tulsa which placed 20th overall with 642 points, and each of the three other ranked Division II squads that ran. The Grizzlies outdistanced No. 8 Augustana by 260 points, No. 22 East Central (Okla.) by 443 points and No. 23 Drury (Mo.) by 555 points.

McNiff covered the course in a new 10k personal best of 30 minute, 1.45 seconds, but was 50 seconds behind race-winner Lowe. The 17th-place finish, which earned the Grizzlies 15 team points, was McNiffs lowest since the Division II National Championship meet last fall where he placed 22nd.

Senior Luke Cragg (Leeds, England) and sophomore Keegan Calmes (Wind Lake, Wisc.) were separated by just four seconds, placing 25th and 28th respectively. Cragg earned 23 points for ASC, crossing the line in 30:16.17 and Calmes earned 25 points with a time of 30:20.97.

Junior Matt Bond (Worcester, England) clocked a 30:31.64 in his first 10k race as a Grizzly, earning 31 points with a 36th-place showing as the fourth Grizzly. Senior Brandon Birdsong (Lubbock, Texas) was the fifth Adams State runner across in a time of 30:54.22, nabbing 40 points in 49th, and giving the Grizzlies top five a pack time of under 53 seconds.

Running in just his third career cross country race as a Grizzly, junior Nathan Sellers (La Crescenta, Calif.) was close on the heels of Birdsong with a time of 30:55.18, taking 51st place and amassing 42 team points. Sophomore Edwin Cruz (Del Norte, Colo.) was the final scoring member of the ASC squad, finishing 82nd and earning 65 points with a time of 31:25.28.

Junior Drew Graham (Newcastle, England), senior Drew Soucy (Lubbock, Texas), freshman Jovanny Godinez (Pacoima, Calif.) and sophomore Antoine Marlartre (Aix-le-Bans, France) rounded out the Grizzliy contingent. Graham was eighth amongst ASC runners in 85th with a time of 31:27.94. Soucy (31:34.81) and Godinez (31:38.54) placed 94th and 97th overall, respectively. Maralartre was the final Grizzly across the line, finishing 172nd with a time of 32:35.40 as the 11th finisher for Damon Martins squad.