Weekend Recap: Top NCAA DII & NAIA Programs Square Off Across Nation

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ll continue to update this post throughout the weekend.

NAIA athletes were up for a Challenge.

Those from NCAA Division II got a preview.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZoneMeets & Results | USTFCCCA Scoreboard

This weekend didn’t disappoint as great racing dotted the nation.

Here are a few meets that stood out to us the most.

NCAA DII Pre-Nationals

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Many NCAA DII teams got a first look at Chambers Creek Regional Park at the DII Pre-Nationals on Saturday morning.

The Men’s Division II 8k saw top-ranked Colorado School of Mines run away with the team title (literally). The Orediggers went 1-2-3-5-8 for 19 points, 65 points fewer than runner-up No. 5 Chico State (83), who had their runners cross in 10-11-16-21-25. Dillon Powell was the ultimate low stick for the Orediggers, as he captured the individual title in 23:19.8 seconds for a 16.2 second victory over teammate Loic Scomparin (23:26.00). Duncan Fuehne came in third (23:29.20) to give Colorado School of Mines a sweep of the top-3 individual spots. No. 10 Western Colorado came in third with 91 points, followed by No. 20 Western Washington (143) and No. 25 Cal Poly Pomona (158).

In the Women’s Division II 6k, No. 3 Colorado School of Mines rolled to the team title with 37 points to beat runner-up No. 11 Western Colorado by 51 points. The Orediggers went 3-4-7-8-15 with the duo of Zoe Baker (third, 20:56.00) and Clare Peters (fourth, 20:59.60) leading the way. The Mountaineers, who got a runner-up finish from Katie Douchette in 20:55.10, scored 88 points and placed three athletes in the top-13. No. 20 Biola (Calif.) took third with 151 points, followed by No. 12 Chico State in fourth (194) and Cal State East Bay in fifth (213). In the individual race, Naomi Bailey of Alaska Fairbanks took home top honors in 20:46.1 for a nine second victory.

NAIA Great Lakes Challenge

Expect several changes in the next NAIA national rankings coming out this week. Packed with ranked programs, the Maroon Division races of the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge didn’t disappoint on Saturday at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In the men’s 8K, freshman Jason Bowers of Cumberland (Tenn.) was clocked in 24:03.3 to win by 16.2 seconds over Bryan Hernandez-Rios of Grace (Ind.). Teamwise, No. 2 Indiana Wesleyan led the way with 88 points – not a surprise as the Wildcats were the highest rated of 13 ranked teams in the field. But the rankings were no help sorting the order after that as runner-up honors went to No. 17 St. Francis (Ill.) with 108 points. A tight trio followed as No. 6 Saint Mary (Kan.) tallied 165 for third ahead of No. 12 Huntington (Ind.) (173) and No. 8 Grace (Ind.) (187). Rounding out the top-10 were No. 20 Taylor (Ind.) (222), No. 13 Grand View (Iowa) (232), No. 15 Cornerstone (Mich.) (265), No. 23 Lawrence Tech (Mich.) (284) and No. 21 Spring Arbor (Mich.) (315).

Another freshman, Addy Wiley of Huntington, won the women’s 5K in 16:57.6, 21.8 seconds ahead of Abbey Brennan of Taylor. No. 2 Taylor had two more runners in the top-10 to easily capture the team title with 46 points. No. 3 Saint Mary was runner-up with 126 points, just 3 less than No. 7 Cornerstone. Five top-10 squads were among the 13 ranked teams toeing the line, and like the men’s race the current ranking order did not dictate finish order here.. Fourth place went to No. 4 St. Francis (Ill.) with 161 points as No. 17 Huntington was fifth with 202 points. Rounding out the top-10 were No. 11 Indiana Wesleyan (208), No. 8 Grace (279), No. 24 Indiana Tech (291), No. 19 Carroll (Mont.) (316) and host No. 14 Aquinas (Mich.) (327).

NAIA Appalachian Challenge

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A thrilling battle for the men’s team title highlighted the NAIA Appalachian Challenge on Friday in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Top-ranked Milligan (Tenn.) held off a strong challenge by No. 10 Montreat (N.C.) in the Men’s 8k to capture top honors by a score of 33-36. Front-end depth won out over overall depth in this race as the Buffs went 1-2-6-10-14, compared to the Cavaliers’ 3-5-8-9-11. Milligan teammates Aaron Jones and Will Stockley ran away from the pack early and worked together to finish first and second, respectively, in 24:10.2 and 24:11.8. Dylan Branch paced Montreat (N.C.) with his third-place effort at 24:22.9. Eleven seconds separated second and third and third from fourth (Carson Barlow of William Carey in 24:33.5).

It wasn’t that close in the Women’s 5k, as No. 1 Milligan (Tenn.) rolled to a 44-point victory over No. 16 William Carey, 37-81. Lina May gave the Crusaders the ultimate low stick at 17:08.2, but then three Buffs crossed the finish line in succession with some space between themselves: Ellen-Mary Kearney (second, 17:21.2), Alyssa Bearzi (third, 17:52.4), Caitlin Dominy (fourth, 18:00.0). Milligan (Tenn.) poured it on from there with its entire top-7 finishing before any other team netted six. WCU took runner-up honors by virtue of a 3-2 tiebreaker over No. 18 Montreat (N.C.).

UAH DII Festival Year Showcase

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Eleven ranked teams in the latest NCAA DII National Coaches’ Poll competed at the UAH DII Festival Year Showcase on Saturday morning.

The Men’s 8k had No. 4 Wingate capture the team title with 53 points over runner-up No. 5 Lee (Tenn.). The Bulldogs got their scoring runners across the line in the top-18, led by top-5 finishes from Pierre Galbourdin (third, 23:43.6) and Scott Nutter (fifth, 23:46.7). The Flames tallied 87 points in their runner-up finish and were led by a ninth-place finish by Hayden Judge. Rounding out the top-5 was No. 16 Charleston (W.Va) in third (101), No. 17 Illinois-Springfield in fourth (158) and No. 24 Alabama-Huntsville in fifth (158).

In the Women’s 5k, No. 7 Cedarville romped to the team title with 46 points, 59 points fewer than runner-up No. 6 Wingate (105). The Yellow Jackets went 5-8-9-11-13 to get all of their scoring runners in before Wingate’s first runner crossed the line in 14th. Savannah Ackley was Cedarville’s top runner with a fifth-place finish in 17:25.7, with Bethany Sholl (eighth) and Naomi Herman (ninth) posting top-10 finishes. No. 10 Lee (Tenn.) finished third with 112 points, followed by Charleston (W.Va.) in fourth (135) and No. 16 Lewis in fifth (160).

Vincent Nchogu of TAMU-Texarkana won the Men’s 8k in 23:37.1 to edge Joao Pereira of Charleston (W.Va.) by 0.4 seconds. The Women’s 5k individual title went to Johanna Wistokat of Christian Bros., who crossed the line in 17:15.7 for a 3.9 second victory over Elise Leveel of Charleston (W.Va.).