Tigers capture National title

Photo courtesy COWLEY COLLEGE

RICHMOND, Va. — The Cowley College

men’s cross country team didn’t just crown

the national champion — the

Tigers had the runner-up as well.

Led by National champion

Adrian Diaz-Lopez and runner-up

Amos Pkiach, the Tigers captured

the National title Saturday, their

first since 2010, at the NJCAA Division II

National Championships.

The defending national champion Lady

Tigers placed fourth.

Diaz-Lopez completed the course in 24

minutes, 52.1 seconds, with Pkiach just

behind in 24:55.3.

Diaz-Lopez was named the Men’s National

Athlete of the Year and USTFCCCA Division

II Central Region Male Cross Country

Athlete of the Year. Cowley men’s head coach

Cameron Rieth was named USTFCCCA

Division II Central Region Men’s Coach of

the Year, as well as the NJCAA Division II

Men’s National Coach of the Year.

“The men were spearheaded by our onetwo

punch,” Rieth said. “They both ran a

beautiful, tactical race to perfection.

Going one and two at nationals

was our goal from day one. I

told them that I don’t care who

wins, but work together to be able

to get this accomplished, and they

executed it to perfection.”

Cowley freshman Santiago Nunez

(26:04.6) also earned All-American honors

with his 14th-place finish. Xoel Rodriguez-Abad garnered Coaches

Association All-American honors for placing

31st.

“Santiago stepped up and contributed

in a massive way this year,” Rieth said.

Other Cowley runners were Joel

Rodriguez (36th), Caleb Liermann (42nd)

and Aidan Wells (65th). There were 221

competitors in the men’s race.

“A lot of hard work was put in by the

entire men’s team and it was just fantastic

to see it all put together on race day,”

Rieth said. “We had an incredible group

of guys this year, the majority of them

sophomores. The same sophomores who

even though we had a great year last fall,

left the season with a little unfinished

business with our third-place national

finish. We believed we could do this last

year, but fell a little short and got beat by

some good teams. So this year they were

men on a mission, nothing was going to

get in the way.”

The Cowley men finished 20 points

better than second-place Daytona State

College.

The Lady Tigers were led by sophomore

Karissa Glover placing sixth and earning

All-American honors. Glover was named

the USTFCCCA Division II Central Region

Female Athlete of the Year.

“Our staple up front this year was

Karissa,” Rieth said. “Even though she

had a little bit of a rocky mid-season, she

really finished out on a high note.”

Fellow sophomore Delicia

Boothe garnered Coaches

Association All-American

honors for her 19th-place

finish.

“Going into the year,

we had such big shoes to

fill on the women’s side,”

Rieth said. “We graduated

80 percent of our women’s

national championship

team from last year. After

week one of the year, I was

a little bit concerned about

fitness levels, but much to

my surprise these girls really

dug in and started making

rapid improvements.

“ If you would have asked me after

week one of the season, never would I

have thought we would be in third place

and only 10 points out of second place

as a team going into the last mile at

the National championship meet. These

girls battled and fought, but ran out of

gas and faded to fourth over the last

mile.”

Other Lady Tigers were Kristen Wilson

(33rd place), Abigail Pinnock (37th place),

Yazmin Reyes (46th place), Ashley Goforth

(54th place) and Layla Ingalls (145th

place). There were 198 runners in the

meet.

The Lansing Stars took home the women’s

team title, 16 points better than runner-

up Heartland Community College.

North Iowa Area Community College’s

Sarah Bertry won the women’s race

in18:21.1.

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