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.
ORANGE, Calif. – Leah Esposito won the individual title to lead the Carroll women’s cross country team to a second-place finish at the Biola NAIA West Coast Jamboree.
Lyle Pocha finished third and David Thor finished fourth to pace the men’s team which also finished second place in the elite meet.
Six of the top 20 women’s teams in the country and five of the top 20 men’s teams in the country participated in the invite. The meet also included some of the nation’s top individual racers.
“A race like this has got to give Leah a lot of confidence,” head cross country coach David Morris said. “Five of the top 13 teams were there and a lot of really good individuals were running. She should be right in the mix at nationals.”
On the men’s side, Morris was pleased with the performance by his top male runners.
“David and Lyle both ran pretty well,” Morris said. “David looked tired this weekend and really had to battle but Lyle is really coming on lately. He is getting where we will need him to be at for the conference meet and nationals.”
The Saints next look to the Frontier Conference meet in Billings on Nov. 7. The Saints will look to capture both the men’s and women’s title but in order for that to happen, all five runners will need to be at their bests and Saturday’s meet is an indication that the Saints are on the right track.
Chance Hyatt finished 13th overall for the Carroll men.
“Chance again ran well,” Morris said. “He had his second consecutive personal record. He keeps getting better and that will help our depth.”
Rhianna Grossman finished sixth overall and more importantly seems to be healthy.
“Rhianna is getting back into form,” Morris said. “She had a good race, and was nearly pain free, which bodes well for us.”
Morris believes the Saints will need to be better if they hope to finish in the top five at nationals but with the long travel and a hard week of training he knows that his team can run better.
“Overall I am pleased,” Morris said. “It was a tough week, it was warm and we had some tough travel. We were out of our element and under the circumstances I thought we ran pretty well.”
HELENA, Mont. – The Carroll College cross country teams take on their biggest challenge to date when they travel to Orange, Calif., for the Biola NAIA West Coast Jamboree, Saturday.
Sixteen teams compete in the meet, including six ranked women’s teams and five ranked men’s teams. The race is held at the Irvine Regional Park.
The Saints women are ranked ninth and the men are ranked 18th in the latest NAIA Cross Country Coaches’ Top 25 Poll which was released Wednesday.
David Thor leads the Saints men. In his last outing he placed third in the Montana Invitational, defeating the top runners from The University of Montana and Gonzaga.
Leah Esposito is the top runner on the women’s side. She was the top small school runner in each of the last two meets.
The meet is the only competition outside of Montana for the Saints prior to nationals and it is an opportunity to see how Carroll stacks up nationally.
HELENA, Mont. – The Carroll College men’s cross country team jumped four spots in the weekly NAIA Cross Country Coaches Poll after a strong performance at the University of Montana Invitational.
David Thor took fourth overall at UM to lead the Saints to a higher finish than Division I Montana and No. 17 College of Idaho.
The Saints overtook C of I and moved from 19 to 15 in the rankings.
The Carroll women also performed well in Missoula. Leah Esposito earned Frontier Conference Runner of the Week honors for her ninth place finish at UM.
Despite the strong performance, the Saint women fell one spot from fifth to sixth.
The Saints run again on the weekend of Oct. 24-25. The top runners will head to Biola University (Calif.) for an elite event on Saturday, Oct. 25. The rest of the team runs at the University of Great Falls on Friday, Oct. 24.
Coach David Morris
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