Columbus State Men Finish 19th at Cross Country National Championships; Women 24th
Evansville, Ind. -- Columbus State's Meshack Koyiaki capped off
an outstanding season by finishing ninth at the NCAA Division II
Cross-Country Championships on Saturday on the campus of the
University of Southern Indiana. The CSU women, on the heels of
their first-ever region championship, finished 24th in the women's
race on Saturday. Individually, UNCP's Pardon Ndhlovu was named an
All-American with his 30th place finish.
Koyiaki (31:22) and teammate Nicholas Kering (27th place, 32:12) led the Cougars to a 19th place finish in just the second-ever national championship appearance by at CSU team. Both Runners earned All-American honors by finishing in the top 40 finishers in the race. The 19th place finish will mark the first-ever top-20 ranking for CSU in cross-country.
John Neill (132, 34:26), Stewart Helton (155, 35:16), and Nathan Prickett (162, 35:44) rounded out the scoring for CSU. The Cougars' team scores after the individual runners and non-scoring runners from other teams were removed, added up to a total of 419. Andrew Henderson (169, 36:04) and David Marley (176, 36:58) rounded out the CSU finishers.
Adams State won the title with 23 points and were led by individual champion Reuben Mwei with a time of 30:27.
Ndhlovu is the first UNCP cross country athlete to run at NCAA Division II Nationals in 28 years and represented the Black and Gold proudly as he crossed the finish line with a 32:15.2 10K. The time was on point for Ndhlovu who ran a 32:14 at the NCAA Southeast Regionals on November 7. Ndhlovu is the first athlete in the history of UNCP’s cross country program to be recognized as an all-American by the NCAA, and joins eight other all-Americans in the cross country program that were recognized by the NAIA (the last being David Lewis in 1981).
Clayton State's Fidelis Mutiso also ran as an individual, finishing 82nd.
The CSU women, making their first-ever championships appearance, finished 24th. That finish mirrored what the men's team did in 2008 in its first-ever appearance. The team finished with 603 points in the event.
Naomi Tanui finished 78th overall (62 points) with a time of 22:41 and was the top CSU finisher. Brittney Skiles placed 122nd (103 pts) with a time of 23:24, while Kelli Arnold ran a 23:56 and finished 150th (131 points). Ashley Arnold, at 24:47, finished 169th (150 pts.), and Tiara Brown ran a 25:23 to finish 176th (157 pts.). Hope Ard also finished for CSU at 28:01 in 184th place.
Adams State made it a clean sweep of the two championships by claiming the team title with a team score of 73 points. Seattle Pacific's Jessica Pixler was the individual champion with a time of 20:22.