(left/file photo by Randy Miyazaki, trackandfieldphoto.com) completed a magnificent cross country career as she was runner-up for the second straight year at the 2010 NCAA Division II National Championships held Saturday on a snow covered course at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park.
Both Viking teams placed among the top 10 for the third straight year, the men finishing ninth and the women 10th. Leading the Western men were seniors Jordan Welling and Bennett Grimes, who were eighth and 13th, respectively.
Grimes, Porter and Welling all earned All-America honors for the third time by placing among the top 40 runners.
"We beat our rankings, which was our goal," said Western coach Pee Wee Halsell, whose squads entered the meet with the men ranked 10th and the women 12th in their respective United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Top 25s. "I'm very pleased with our showing."
Porter completed the 6-kilometer women's course in 20:57. That was 15 seconds behind Shippensburg junior Neely Spence, who placed second at nationals in 2008, also in the snow.
"She ran well," Halsell said of Porter. "I'm very happy for her. They (Porter and Spence) ran together the entire race with Spence making a move while running through a gulley with 1,400 meters to go that surprised Sarah. At that point, it's hard to make that up."
Welling toured the 10-kilometer men's course in 31:07 and Grimes was timed in 31:12.
Adams State CO took the men's team title with 57 points, 45 ahead of second-place Western State CO (102) in the 24-team field. Western was ninth with 269 points. Two other West Region schools in the top 10 were Chico State fifth (181) and Alaska Anchorage eighth (262).
Western State (95) also was second in the women's standings, finishing 29 points behind champion Grand Valley State MI (66). The Vikings were 10th with 300 points. Chico State was fifth (164) and Alaska Anchorage sixth (185).
Western senior Blake Medhaug placed 66th (32:06) in the men's run, followed by Eric Brill, 80th in 32:24; Nick Abraham, 131st in 33:45; Chip Jackson, 138th in 34:01; and Kyle Johnson, 173rd in 35:34.
(left/photo courtesy St. Martin's Sports Information), a junior from Onalaska HS, who was the last individual qualifier not on a team out of the West Region, finished 85th in 32:30.
In the women's division, the Vikings' Lauren Breihof was 49th in 22:33. Western's Rachael Johnson was 89th in 23:18, Jessica Boyer 108th in 23:39, Phoebe Hartnett 111th in 23:43, Lacey Nation 146th in 24:22 and Sierra Brisky 146th in 24:22.
"They've anchored our program and hopefully their legacy will be passed down to our younger runners," said Halsell.
Courtesy of media partner Flotrack, here's a post-race interview with Porter.
Welling finished 13th at nationals in 2009 as the Vikings placed fourth, and he was 29th in 2008 when Western finished 10th.
The men's results can be accesssed here, while the women's results are available here.
NOTE: The sports information office of Western Washington University, Saint Martin's University, and the NCAA contributed to this report.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
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