Cross Country >> SFU NAIA 2004

Back-to-Back NAIA Titles For Clan Women

SFU women's XC team wins 2004 NAIA Champs

November 20, 2004 LOUISVILLE, KY --- Simon Fraser University was named the Best Overall Program in the NAIA after the Clan women's cross-country team won its second straight national championship and the men's team finished fourth at the NAIA national cross-country championships Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky.

"Winning the best combined program is really important because a lot of schools have a good men's team or a good women's team but my philosophy has always been to have two programs capable of winning a championship and this tells me we are headed in the right direction," said Clan coach BritTownsend.

The second-ranked SFU women's team got All-American performances from three runners and five student-athletes finished among the top 51 as the Clan captured the national title for the second straight year. It was the first time a university has won back-to-back national titles since SFU won three straight from 1996-1998.

Junior Julia Howard (St. John's, Nfld.), sixth a year ago at nationals, finished third this year in a personal best time of 17 minutes and 43 seconds, leading the Clan to its seventh overall women's title, the most of any team in the NAIA. Despite her best efforts Howard never challenged for the individual title. Senior Mirriam Kaumba of Oklahoma Baptist won for the second straight year, completing the wet and muddy five kilometer course in a blistering time of 16:53, 10 seconds short of the NAIA record held by former Clan runner now Olympian Emilie Mondor.

Evelina Slatinska of Central Methodist finished second, one second ahead of Howard. "The teams were really closely matched but I thought the difference was that our best runners were our best runners today," said Townsend, who was named NAIA Coach of the Year for the second straight year.

SFU freshman Kirsten Kolstad of Surrey served notice that she is one of the top up-and-coming middle distance runners in the NAIA. After winning the Region 1 championship two weeks ago Kolstad finished sixth in her first national championship race, turning in a time of 17:50, easily the highest placing freshman in the race. Sophomore Meredith MacGregor (White Rock, BC) cut 15 seconds off her time at last year's championships and moved up 16 places from a year ago, finishing 21st in 18:27. No other school placed three runners as high as the Clan.

Simon Fraser finished with 95 points to upset top-ranked Concordia University (Nebraska), second with 129 points, in a race where the times of the top five runners from each school are factored into the team score. The University of British Columbia was third with 161 points.

SFU junior Rebbecca Johnstone (Bowen Island, BC) was 40th in 18:48 and junior Leah Boeckermann-Belanger (Thunder Bay) was 51st in 18:58 to complete the Clan team scoring. The top finisher for UBC was junior Celia Ambery, 11th in 18:16.

Other Clan finishers on the women's side were senior Justine Boulin (Quesnel), 80th in 19:28, and freshman Amanda Cliff (Surrey, BC), 86th in 19:31, in a field of 268 runners.

Simon Fraser University senior Richard Mosley of Coquitlam, BC, delivered his personal best time in the men's eight kilometer race but fell 15 seconds short of the men's individual national championship won by freshman Soimo Kiplagat of Lindenwood University (Montana) in 24:17. Mosley was fourth in 24:32.

Simon Fraser, ranked second entering the championships, placed fourth overall.

"Richard took the lead midway through the race but three runners came back at him and he couldn't sustain his pace," said Townsend. "He's fought off a respiratory infection the past two weeks and although his legs were there his breathing just wasn't."

The Clan finished fourth with 215 points behind first-place Virginia Intermont (54), second-place Aquinas University of Michigan (175) and Lindenwood (213). UBC was sixth. Virginia Intermont had all five scoring runners in the top 23.

Clan freshman David Wambui (Abbotsford) turned in an All-American performance placing 11th in 25:07, while freshman Dylan Gant (Burnaby) was 54th in 26:09, senior Ryan Weber (North Vancouver) was 81st in 26:29, Medi Ahrari (West Vancouver) was 142 (27:08), Simon Driver (Maple Ridge) was 143 (27:09) and Jon Kawamoto (Burnaby) was 222 (28:11).

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Steve Frost @ 604-291-4057

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