NCAA DIII Championships Recap: How About That!?
WINNECONNE, Wisc. – Saturday will go down as one of the biggest days in the history of NCAA Division III Cross Country for two reasons: Williams’ rally for the national title and UW-Platteville senior Ian LaMere’s record run.
No women’s team could catch the second-ranked Ephs once they hit their top gear and LaMere simply blistered the field.
Williams turned on the jets after a slow start – seventh at the 2K split – and upset top-ranked and three-time national champion Johns Hopkins. It was the first title for the Ephs since 2004 and their third overall.
In the men’s race – which was won by No. 1 UW-Eau Claire – it didn’t take LaMere long to squash any hopes of another man winning the individual crown. LaMere put 31 seconds between himself and second place from 1K to 4K and won by 40 seconds, the largest margin of victory in NCAA Division III history.
Let’s go back to the women’s race, where the Blue Jays entered as the odds-on favorite. Through 2K, it appeared as if Johns Hopkins would be well on its way to its fourth consecutive title as it owned a 27-162 lead.
Then Williams woke up – and it spelled disaster for the rest of the field, as well as the Blue Jays’ hopes at a four-peat.
Led by junior Hannah Cole (fifth overall), the Ephs picked off teams one by one. By the 5K mark, Williams was tied with Johns Hopkins (100-100) and the final 1K made all the difference. The Ephs continued to distance themselves from the pack, while the Blue Jays fell further back and finished fourth.
A similar effort sent UW-Eau Claire to its first national title in program history.
The Blugolds worked their way up the pack, going from third at 2K to first at 4K. Once in the lead, UW-Eau Claire’s depth was just too much for any other team.
Junior Josh Thorson led the Blugolds with a runner-up finish, while senior Ryan Mugan and Darin Lau took 11th and 14th, respectively. The spread between Thorson and Lau was 26 seconds (24:15 to 24:41).
Second-ranked Williams saw senior Bijan Mazaheri finish third and junior Peter Hale 16th, but its third and fourth runners – Todd Ford and Noah Williams – were 39th and 40th, respectively.
The day belonged to LaMere, as no man had a chance of catching him on the tract at Lake Breeze Golf Club. LaMere ran with Amherst’s Mohamed Hussein for 1K, but said "good-bye" to him and rolled solo the rest of the way.
Abrah Masterson of Cornell College won the individual title in the women’s race.
Women’s Team Standings: 1. Williams 81, 2. Geneseo State 179, 3. MIT 182, 4. Johns Hopkins 188.
Men’s Team Standings: 1. UW-Eau Claire 135, 2. Williams 144, 3. Geneseo State 209, 4. St. Olaf 211.