11/15/2023 | Alisha Alexander | Assistant Athletic Director-Sports Information
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Friday will mark the 23rd consecutive year that Lewis-Clark State College will have its women’s team in the national race, and the 20th straight year that both teams have been in. The No. 15 men’s team and No. 18 women’s team will race at the 2023 NAIA Cross Country National Championships on Friday.
The course at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is one that is familiar to the Warriors with this being the fourth race on the grounds since 2017. The five-hour bus ride is much easier to manage than a cross-country flight such as 2022’s Tallahassee, Fla., site. Nationals was last held in Vancouver in 2021.
“Great to be in our own time-zone with travel that we are familiar with,” Head Coach Mike Collins said. “It gives family and friends a chance to attend and a little comfort of being close to home. Knowing the terrain and what to expect does allow us to prepare for all the turns and up and downs, which we have been doing for a month now. I would assume other coaches are doing the same, but knowing what we have coming we feel we have developed a good acclamation to course design using some of our local parks.”
The Warriors are one of five teams in each race to represent the Cascade Collegiate Conference. The CCC is the host of the meet and leads the NAIA with the most teams on each side. The women’s field features No. 1 College of Idaho, No. 7 Southern Oregon, LC State, Eastern Oregon and Oregon Tech, while the men’s field includes No. 5 EOU, No. 7 C of I, LC State, No. 17 Corban and Multnomah. The Yotes won the CCC women’s title while EOU took the men’s title.
The women’s field is made up of 36 teams and 88 individuals, while the men’s side includes 36 teams and 85 individuals. Having four other conference schools in the race does not change the mindset when race day arrives.
“In general, in races this big, it is hard to keep track of your own teammates, let alone teams from your region,” Collins said. “We will be working hard to focus on our own races and not letting others affect us, other than working to stick with teammates and keep small gaps as much as possible.”
The women race the 6k to start the day at 10:30 a.m. LC State will lean on its top runners from the season in All-Cascade Conference finishers Brooklyn Shell and Geraldin Correa who both enter the final races of their careers. Sophomores Chloe Overberg and Grace Tiegs also placed in the top 20 at the conference meet and will look to be impactful in the national race.
Pending injuries or illness, Grace Dixon, Aubree Williams and Abigail Gorton will complete the group of seven Warriors that will toe the start line at Fort Vancouver.
On the men’s side, sophomore Kobe Wessels is coming off the best race of his career and will be a key piece when the men race the 8k at 11:30 a.m. The Lewiston native shaved nearly a minute off his previous career-best to place seventh at the conference meet to earn All-CCC honors.
Carter Gordon has been a constant for LC State all season, and senior Brycen Brown has also been a consistent top finisher for the Warriors. Cooper Carlson, Brycen Kempton, Clay Shumaker and Conner May cap the seven-man crew, pending injuries or illness ahead of the race.
The top 30 finishers in each race earn NAIA All-American honors.
“I think we have 2-3 men and 2-3 women that have a shot at All-American, so we will be running strategies to give them their best shot at that,” Collins explained. “Otherwise, getting everyone in the top 100 should ensure a top 15-20 finish as a team and, if we do have All-Americans, we should have a shot at top 10. Very stacked field this year. Probably the deepest I have seen in the last 10-15 years, so a top-10 finish would be a great accomplishment.”
The races will be live streamed and have live results. More information on the championships can be found EmailHosting.cloud has detected a phishing attempt from “r20.rs6.net”. Clicking this link is not recommended: HERE.
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