EVANSVILLE, Ind. – National Championship titles 53 and 54 are on their ways to Alamosa, along with a storm of green that took over Evansville, Indiana, at the 2017 NCAA Division II National Championships. Adams State University's cross country program took the sweep, as the women won 126-137 against runner-up University of Mary, while the men held off Grand Valley State University in a 44-64 showdown. In all, five top-15 finisher trophies, eight All-American medals and two National Championship trophies find themselves in the hands of the Adams State Grizzlies.
On what most would consider a brisk morning, the Grizzlies were ready. Slight rain and an all-too-familiar breeze was the setting for the championships. The women's team kicked things off, but didn't jump into the top-spot until halfway through the race. With 1,000 meters remaining, Adams had all but secured the title, but things came down to the end as the University of Mary charged back from down 40 to just the deciding 11 points gap.
Coming into the race, the women were underdogs, ranked No. 3 in the nation behind Cal-Baptist and Grand Valley State. When the dust settled the women were shedding tears of joy. RMAC Runner of the Year Eilish Flanagan was the first to cross, finishing ninth overall with a time of 21:08. Five seconds behind her was the NCAA South Central Regional Runner of the Year Malena Grover in 12th. Roisin Flanagan was the final woman All-American, finishing 21st overall. Closing out the scoring was Haleigh Hunter-Galvan in 46th and Kaylee Bogina in 51st.
Next up came the men, who were ready for the task at hand and had nothing to do with the women's celebration. The men's race seemed to be a tighter one, as Colorado Mines, Grand Valley State, Western State and Adams State populated half of the top-20 crowd halfway through the race. It seemed to be anyone's race as it was just Grand Valley had a one-point lead through 4K. The Grizzlies would take the lead the rest of the way, but it was just a six point lead through 7K. With brightly colored hair, the men started crossing one-by-one, as Adams realized the victory when Sydney Gidabuday closed out the scoring ahead of a group of charging individuals.
Kale Adams was the first Grizzly across, finishing third overall with a time of 30:56. Behind him was Elias Gedyon in seventh, then Joshua Joseph in ninth. Regional Runner of the Year Lucio Ramirez finished 13th, while Gidabuday crossed the line in 17th.
Though Kale led the pack, Joseph was the true hero. The sophomore was in 28th place halfway through the race, keeping pace just ahead of two Lakers from Grand Valley State as the fifth Grizzly scorer. Throughout the last half of the race Joseph charged, passing numerous people on his way to a top-10 finish.
This is the first time since 2009 that Adams State University swept the cross country titles. Ironically, that was the last time the national championships were in Evansville. The men defended their title for the sixth-time in the NCAA Division II era, while the women capture their second title in three years. This is the 13th NCAA Division II title for the men and the 17th for the women. In the 26-year history of Adams State competing at the Division II level, the program has taken 30 of the 52 possible cross country titles.