HELENA, Mont. – The Carroll College men’s and women’s Cross Country teams will be among the field in the NAIA National Championship that will take place in Lawrence, Kansas, on Nov. 22, the association announced today.
The Carroll men received an automatic bid after winning the Frontier/North Star Conference Championship. The Carroll Women received an At-Large bid because their top-10 ranking.
The Saints men were ranked 13th in the final NAIA polls, released yesterday. Lewis-Clark State, who took second in the Frontier/North Star championship, was ranked 14th.
The Carroll women came in at No. 6 in the final poll. Lewis-Clark State received the No. 4 position after beating the Saints by just two overall places in the conference race.
British Columbia was a unanimous No. 1 in the Women’s poll and Oklahoma City is No. 1 in the men’s poll.
By Kyle Sample, Helena IR
The last time David Morris thought his cross country teams were set up for success, the Saints made their coach appear prophetic.
In their last meet, Morris expected Carroll to do well at the flat, sea-level course that hosts NAIA West Coast Jamboree at Biola University. By the time they left California, Leah Esposito won the women’s race and both teams finished second in a field that included some of the best programs in the nation.
Heading into the Frontier/North Star Conference meet Friday at Amend Park in Billings, Morris again has a feeling the Saints will solidify their impressive national rankings -- the Saints’ women are fifth in the latest NAIA poll, while the men are 14th.
BILLINGS, Mont. – The Carroll College men’s cross country team won the team title and the women took second place at the Frontier/North Star Conference Championship Friday in Billings.
David Thor ran the course in 25:55.39 to take the men’s individual title and Leah Esposito ran the women’s course in 18:30.87, more than six second faster than the second place finisher to take the women’s individual title.
In the men’s section four of the top five finisher’s were Carroll runners.
“I am very proud of the way we raced today,” head cross country coach David Morris said. “I couldn’t believe the men’s results when I saw it, it was incredible. They just ran really smart and very patient. It was incredible.”
The great results for the men may have come from a strategy that the women’s team tried to work in to their race.
“In the women’s race we made a move towards the middle of the race and it didn’t work out the way we hoped it would,” Morris said. “I just told the men to go out and race. The pack stayed together for a really long time and I wasn’t sure if it would help but it worked out really well for us. Our guys ran the last mile and a half really hard and we did really well.”
The individual performances by Thor and Esposito weren’t unexpected but there are never guarantees in sports.
“I know that both Leah and David had a good chance of winning but to see it happen is awesome,” Morris said. “To have the winners of both the men’s and women’s race is great for our program.”
The Saints received the automatic bid to nationals, and the Saints women’s high national ranking should guarantee them a spot in the field. The meet takes place on Nov. 22 in Lawrence, Kan. The Saints have a lot to do in the next few weeks.
“There is a lot of work to do with the course. We have been preparing all year long for it because it is different from what we see,” Morris said. “We have to build on where we are and do the thing we didn’t do well a little bit better.”
HELENA, Mont. – The Carroll College men’s and women’s cross country teams both advanced in this week’s edition of the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll after strong performances at the Biola NAIA West Coast Jamboree in Orange, Calif. last weekend.
The Saints women jumped to the No. 5 spot after Leah Esposito won the jamboree individual title and led the team to a second-place finish in the elite field. The Saints were ranked ninth last week.
The Carroll men jumped up from No. 18 spot to the No. 14 spot in the poll. The Saints men also finished second, led by Lyle Pocha who finished third and David Thor who finish just behind Pocha in the fourth position.
The Saints do not run this week ahead of the Frontier/North Star Conference Championship on Nov. 7 in Billings.
Coach David Morris
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