Cross country teams ready for national championships

Cross country teams ready for national championships

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The NJCAA DIII's best men's and women's cross country programs are set to compete at the 2016 NJCAA DIII Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 12 in Canandaigua, New York. Finger Lakes Community College is hosting the championship meets.

The women's 5k race will start at 10:00 a.m. and the men's 8K race will begin at 11 a.m. Approximately 15 teams will compete in the women's race and around 20 teams for the men's race.

Coach Dustin Iacovone expressed excitement for this team. "They have been working hard for several months all with the goal of performing well at Nationals. Last year we came in with minimal expectations. No one knew who we were and we were just looking to surprise some teams."

Last year, the men finished in 8th place out of 20 teams competing for a national title. The women did not field a team but participated as individuals. Columbus State's top female runner, Stevie Shepherd, finished 15th overall, earning her All-American honors.

This year is different. The women's team is ranked No. 2 in the most recent U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national rankings, while the men are ranked No. 8 overall. "This year other schools know who we are. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 so we have a little bit of a target on our backs. I hope my athletes embrace this role because it shows just how talented they are".

The Cougars depart for New York on Thu, Nov. 10.