VANCOUVER, Wash. – Runners at the 2023 NAIA Cross Country National Championships could not have asked for better weather on Friday without a cloud in the sky. The No. 18 Lewis-Clark State women and No. 15 men both finished inside the top 20 with an All-American on each side to close out the season.
The Warrior women capitalized on strong races throughout the lineup and placed three in the top 100 to place 11th overall. Brooklyn Shell closed out her LC State Cross Country career with an All-American honor in 39th place. Kobe Wessels turned in the best finish of any Warrior on the day with an All-American 24th-place finish to help the men’s team take 17th.
“I am extremely pleased with our performances today,” Head Coach Mike Collins said. “I thought our women had an outstanding day and were just shy of breaking into that top 10 which would have been an amazing result considering there are a lot of coaches around the country that didn’t believe we belonged in the top 20.”
Shell earned her first individual All-American honor in her final cross country race. She is the first LC State women’s cross country runner to earn the honor since Emily Adams in 2018. The senior from Hayden, Idaho, crossed the line 39th with a time of 22:34.1 to lead the women. Chloe Overberg just missed an All-American finish (top 40) in 48th (22:55.0), and senior Geraldin Correa placed 79th (23:23.4).
The women finished 11th as a team with 352 points to place seven spots ahead of their ranking coming into the race. Cascade Conference rival College of Idaho won the team title with an impressive 68 points, and Southern Oregon finished eighth.
“I really feel proud of both seniors, Brooklyn and Geraldin, who I think really went out and attempted to race how they needed to in order to have a good day,” Collins said. “Brooklyn came through and, as a senior, finishing off as an All-American there is not much more you can say about that as to how great that feels for her and how proud I am of her and all of the work she has put in. Geraldin came up a bit short but she really fought and made the team better.”
Freshman Aubree Williams made her nationals debut as the fourth Warrior finisher in 109th (23:40.3), Grace Tiegs was 178th (24:19.6) and Abigail Gorton was 194th (24:26.2). Grace Dixon rounded out the group in 229th (24:45.5).
“Chloe was just on the edge of being an All-American and I am looking forward to the future with her, and Aubree as a freshman had been getting better and better every race,” Collins added. “She really came through today and helped this team achieve.”
Wessels continued his breakout postseason with a 24th-place finisher, the best by a Warrior since 2021. He ran a time of 25:25.5 to earn his first individual All-American honor.
“Kobe’s progression this season has been amazing and today, to finish as the 24th-best runner in the entire country is an amazing testament to his racing mentality, his commitment to his training and just generally improving,” Collins said.
Senior Bryson Brown excelled in his final race and moved up 32 spots in the final kilometer. The fifth-year placed 46th, just off All-American grouping, with a time of 25:48.1.
Carter Gordon was the next LC State runner across the line in 165th (26:49.9) and Conner May was 183rd (26:55.8). Clay Shumaker was 189th (26:57.8), Brycen Kempton placed 227th (27:17.4) and Cooper Carlson was 282nd (28:16.6).
“The men did not have the day we were hoping for,” Collins said. “It’s racing and things happen. We just didn’t fill in and close the gaps like you need to if you are going to be a top-10 team.”
“Bryson Brown in his final race came up just shy of being an All-American, which is disappointing in that regard, but I know he knows and I know he left everything out there so we are excited to see how he does in track,” Collins added. “Now, we are going to relax, recover and enjoy the rest of this holiday break and come back strong for track.”
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