WINGATE, NC – UNC Pembroke's Silus Kipkoech won the NCAA Southeast Regional men's cross country championship on Saturday and will advance to the national championships where he will be joined by the Augusta Jaguars, who finished third in the team standings.
The finish ensures that Kipkoech, a native of Eldoret, Kenya, will represent the Braves at the NCAA Division II National Championships on November 18 in Evansville, Ind. He joins former all-American and Rio Olympian Pardon Ndhlovu as the only runners in program history to compete at the NCAA's premier event.
Kipkoech's time (31:23.55) was less than a second better than the rest of the 153-man field as Nick Kipkemei of Queens finished in the runner-up spot with a time of 31:24.43. Logan Ward crossed in 34th place for the Braves with a time of 33:36.41, while Matthew Martin turned in a time 34:04.35 to finish 44th. Jonathan Martin (53rd, 34:22.89) and Nate Nash (77th, 35:13.00) rounded out the scoring for the Black & Gold.
This is the second time the Jaguars have advanced to the NCAA Championships. The team made it in 2013 and Augusta's Jaiden Brandt (2012) and Nick Del Guercio (2015) represented the team as individuals.
"Again, the men executed the plan we have used all year and it got them to the championships," Augusta head coach Adam Ward. "I cannot express how proud I am of these young men and to our seniors Dylan and Josh for their leadership. Man, what a day!"
Hosted by the Wingate Bulldogs at the Wingate XC Facility, the 2017 regional featured a women's 6K at 9:00 a.m. and a men's 10K at 10:15 a.m. The meet was won by Mount Olive, followed by Queens and Augusta to move on to the finals.
Unbeaten Augusta entered the race No. 6 in the NCAA Southeast Region rankings, and fresh off a Peach Belt Conference Championship – their fifth win of the season. Junior Daniel Broadhead finished the regional seventh overall (31:55.14) – his sixth top-10 finish of the season. Broadhead has led the Jags in every race in 2017.
Senior Dylan Forester fought for 11th overall in 32:22.14, junior Noah Hulett came in 13th in 32:39.17, and freshman Hunter Kimball placed just outside the top 20 in 21st (32:55.51). Freshman Jacob Poston placed 27th (33:20.37), and senior Josh Thompson 55th (34:27.98) to round out AU. Broadhead, Forester, Hulett, and Kimball earned All-Region honors for finishing in the top 25.