British Columbia Sweeps NAIA Cross Country Titles

British Columbia swept the team titles at the 2017 NAIA Cross Country Championships this past weekend in Vancouver, Washington.

The Thunderbird men were ranked No. 1 in the final National Coaches’ Poll of the regular season, while the women were billed No. 2.

See below for the recap, courtesy of the NAIA Communications Department.

Men’s Story

Vancouver, Wash. – (Individual Results | Team Results) British Columbia won its first-ever national title Saturday at the 2017 NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championships. The event took place at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The Thunderbirds accumulated 41 total points, which is the best team total since Life (Ga.) tallied 41 points at the 1998 national championships.

All five of British Columbia’s scoring individuals finished among the top 15, including top-five finishers Kieran Lamb and John Gay. Lamb, who finished 26th at the 2016 national championships, took third place with a time of 24:27, while Gay finished fourth in 24:41 – one spot better than his 2016 result.

Overall, the Thunderbirds ran a combined 8-kilometer time of 2:04:17 – an average of 24:52 per runner.

This year’s individual title when to Mark Shaw of Oklahoma City, who crossed the finish line in a time of 24:09. Shaw led for a majority of the race en route to becoming the first-ever individual champion for the Stars. The sophomore from Middlesbrough, England, was competing in the race for the first time.

William Carey’s (Miss.) Geoffrey Kipchumba finished second for the second-straight season. The senior, who is now a four-time cross country All-American, ran the 8k course in a time of 24:19. In four trips to the national championships, Kipchumba never finished worse than 10th-place.

Columbia (Mo.) took second in the team race with 168 points. The Cougars were led by Tommy Skosky, who earned All-America honors with a 17th-place finish (25:16). Oklahoma City took third-place with 179 points, while Southern Oregon (193 points) claimed fourth and Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (200 points) finished fifth.

Women’s Story

Vancouver, Wash. – (Individual Results | Team Results) For the fifth time in six years, British Columbia claims the NAIA women’s cross country national title Saturday at the 2017 NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships at Fort Vancouver Historic Site. The Thunderbirds, who also claimed banners in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016, scored 109 total points.

Nicola Symonds, who took 14th at last year’s national championships, paced British Columbia with a third-place finish in a time of 17:26. Two other Thunderbirds earned All-America honors – Madelyn Brunt (11th) and Enid Au (27th)

Overall, British Columbia ran a combined 5-kilometer time of 1:30:16 – an average of 18:04 per runner. With the title, the Thunderbirds now own the second-most team national titles in NAIA women’s cross country history.

Oklahoma City’s Aminat Olowora continued her dominance in a Stars’ uniform, as the senior cruised to her second-straight individual national title. Olowora, who set the national championship 5k record at last year’s national championships, covered the 5k course in a time of 16:50. The Lagos, Nigeria, native now boasts 10 individual titles in 10 races at Oklahoma City.

Rounding out the top five individuals were Jessica Perkinson of Southern Oregon (17:20), Symonds, Lydia Mato of Oklahoma City (17:31) and Molly Vitale-Sullivan of College of Idaho (17:36)

Wayland Baptist (Texas) claimed second-place in the team race with 125 points, followed by Oklahoma City (137 points), Aquinas (Mich.) (181 points) and Taylor (Ind.) (232 points). The second-place finish is the highest in program history for the Pioneers.