Grand Valley Women, Adams State Men Claim NCAA Titles
Play Video Tabor Stevens led Adams State to men's team title Saturday (Photo by Kyle Terwillegar).
Tabor Stevens led Adams State to men's team title Saturday (Photo by Kyle Terwillegar).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

SPOKANE, Wash.  – Grand Valley State won its third women's NCAA Division II national team title in the past four years and Jennifer Agnew of the University of Mary won the women's individual title Saturday morning in the NCAA Division II National Cross Country meet at the Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex.

Meanwhile, Tabor Stevens, who finished third in last year's race, led Adams State to its fifth men's team title in the past six years, winning the 10,000-meter race in a time of 29:50.1.

Agnew, the Central Region champion, went nearly wire-to-wire to win the women's 6K race, which was run in 28 degrees and under clear skies, in a time of 20:50.7.  After opening up a huge early lead, she won by 11.4 seconds over Jessica Macy of Pittsburg State.

Grand Valley State, which placed three runners in the top 11 led by a third-place finish by Allyson Winchester, outpointed Adams State 54-91 to win the team title.  Grand Valley also won the women's title in 2010 and last year when Winchester, who also placed 19th in 2010, finished sixth. 

"Anything can happen if you put your minds to it, if you believe in one another, if you race with one another, and that's what we did today," Grand Valley head coach Jerry Baltes said.

Stevens, who finished just fourth in the South Central Regional two weeks ago, cruised to an 10.6 second victory as the Grizzlies successfully repeated as men's team champion. Western State's  Vegard Olstad, who beat Stevens in the South Central Region meet, finished second in a time of 30:01.7.

"These are all really good runners and I just needed to try to relax," Stevens said.  "Once I got into the lead I just tried to not let up and take it to the end."

Adams State also got a 10th place finish from Jovanny Godinez and a 12th from Kevin Batt, in finishing 50 points ahead of runnerup Grand Valley State. Last year Batt finished second in the national race. 

Alex Monroe of Lock Haven finished third in a time of 30:02.7 and Isaac Chavez of Chico State placed eighth in a time of 30:30.1.  Both athletes assured themselves of their fourth straight USTFCCCA All-American awards with Top 40 finishes.

NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championships (Nov. 23 at Plantes Ferry, Spokane, Wash.)

Women – Grand Valley State 54, Adams State 91, Western State 194, Alaska Anchorage 214, Augustana (SD) 236, Chico State 242, Simon Fraser 251, Metro State 254, Mansfield 272, Minnesota Duluth 277 (18. Western Washington 452, 21. Seattle Pacific 492).

Top 10 Individuals (6,000 Meters) -  1. Jennifer Agnew, U-Mary, 20:50.7; 2. Jessica Macy, Pittsburg St., 21:02.1; 3. Allyson Winchester, Grand Valley, 21:05.7; 4. Tara Dooley, Bentley, 21:07.1; 5. Samantha Johnson, Ferris State, 21:07.2; 6. Lauren Martin, Adams State, 21:14.7; 7. Breanne Hemming, Metro State, 21:16.7; 8. Samantha Rivard, Minn. – Duluth, 21:17.8; 9. Jessica Janecke, Grand Valley State, 21:18.2; 10. Kristin Brondbo, 21:19.5.

Men - Adams State 54, Grand Valley State 104, Augustana (SD) 122, Western State 137, Colorado Mines 187, Chico State 242, Alaska Anchorage 256, Cal Poly Pomona 304, Edinboro 309, Ferris State 312 (20. Western Washington 544).

Top 10 Individuals (10,000 Meters)- 1. Tabor Stevens, Adams State, 29:50.1; 2. Vegard Olstad, Western State, 30:01.7; 3. Alex Monroe, Lock Haven, 30:02.7; 4. Mike Biwott, American International, 30:07.2; 5. Aaron Dinzeo, California (Penn.) 30:14.3; 6. Paul Yak, Augustana, S.D., 30:20.2; 7. Adam Volkert, Pittsburg State, 30:23.2; 8. Isaac Chavez, Chico State, 30:30.1; 9. Johnnie Guy, Southern Indiana, 30:36.3; 10. Jovanny Godinez, Adams State, 30:38.3.

Pre-Meet Story

The NCAA Division II National Cross County meet returns to the Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex Saturday for the second time in three years.

Thirty-two men’s and 32 women’s teams will compete for the national team title.  In addition, 26 men and 25 women qualified for the meet as individuals.

The women’s 6,000-meter race kicks off the competition at 10:30 a.m. followed by the men’s 10,000-meter run at 11:30 a.m.

Adams State is the defending men’s team champion.  The Grizzlies, who have won four of the last five national titles, come in as the No. 1 ranked team in the latest USTFCCCA poll.  Western State (Colo.), which won the team title in the 2011 meet at Plantes Ferry, is ranked second.

Grand Valley State (Mich.), which is the No. 1 ranked team in the latest national poll, is the defending women’s team champion.  Adams State, which won seven straight national team titles between 2003 and 2009, is ranked second.

Thirty-five past All-Americans – 17 men and 18 women - are available to compete in the national meet.

The top returnees from last year’s national meet are Adams State’s Kevin Batt and Susan Tanui of the University of Alaska Anchorage.  Both athletes finished second a year ago.

Batt is one of four returning All-Americans for the Grizzlies, though John Luterbach who placed 15th in the 2012 meet, did not run in the South Central Regional two weeks ago in Canyon, Tex. He is on the travel squad, but may or may not run Saturday.

The other two returning All-Americans for Adams are Tabor Stevens, who placed third and Jovanny Godinez, who finished 28th in the 2012 championships.

The only other returnee from last year’s Men’s Top 10 is Alex Monroe of Lock Haven, who placed fifth.  Two weeks ago Monroe won the Atlantic Regional individual title for the third year in a row.  Monroe, who placed 10th in 2011 and 32nd 2010, will be seeking his fourth All-American award (Top 40 finish).

Isaac Chavez of Chico State will also be seeking his fourth All-American prize. He finished 13th in the 2012 national meet, fifth in 2010 and third in the 2011 meet in Spokane.  Chavez earned his fourth straight Top 5 finish in winning the West Regional individual title on Nov. 9 in Spokane.

Colorado Mines has four returnees from last year’s Top 40 – Phil Schneider (20th), Derek Alcorn (22nd), Andrew Epperson (29th) and Frank Socha (36th).

Tanui, who has won the last two West Regional titles, is one of six women back from last year’s Top 10.

Also returning to challenge Tanui will be Jessica Janecke (4th) and Allyson Winchester (6th) of Grand Valley State, Augustana’s Runa Falch (8th) and Kristin Brondbo (10th) and  Julie Pack of Western State (9th).  Augustana was the 2011 team champion in Spokane.

Grand Valley and Adams State each return three All-Americans from last year.  In addition to Janecke and Winchester, Hannah Osborn (26th) also is back for the Lakers.  The Grizzlies return Kelly Lamb (13th), Lauren Martin (38th) and Alyssa Selve (39th).

Seven GNAC Teams Represented in National Meet

Athletes from seven of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s  10 schools will be represented at Plantes Ferry.

Qualifying for the men’s championship were Alaska Anchorage and Western Washington.  The Seawolves are ranked 10th nationally and the Vikings are ranked 19th.

GNAC teams claimed four of the five West Region berths in the women’s division, led by Region champion Alaska Anchorage which is ranked fourth nationally.  Simon Fraser which is ranked sixth, No. 19 Seattle Pacific and No. 25 Western Washington also qualified.

Three GNAC athletes – Connie Morgan of Central Washington, Natalie Evans of Northwest Nazarene and Annie Wade  of Western Oregon – also qualified as individuals.

CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES: Tickets for Saturday’s championships are $5.  Children under 2 will be admitted free ... Live video will be available at  ... Grand Valley’s two teams come to Spokane after winning their 13th (women) and 12th (men) consecutive Midwest Regional titles ... Johnnie Guy of Southern Indiana won the men’s Midwest Regional title.  The former Division II 5,000 and 10,000 meter track All-American, will be joined in Saturday’s race by his identical twin brother, Josh ... Among the competitors in the women’s race will be Ashley Nichols from Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Wash.  Nichols competes for Bentley (Mass.).