Watch the return of the Cowley Tigers and celebration ceremony here.
FORT DODGE, Iowa — Ten years removed from its previous national championship, the Cowley College women’s cross country team brought the title back to Arkansas City by capturing the NJCAA Division II National Championships on Saturday.
“Many people dream of winning a national championship, very few have the opportunity to even try, so this is a great day for Cowley,” athletic director Shane Larson said.
Cowley sophomore Lubna Suied led the way by winning the individual title in 18 minutes, 30.5 seconds to give the Lady Tigers their first-ever individual national championship.
The win capped an amazing season for Suied, who won five of six races this the season.
“Her overall dedication and commitment to the program made her accomplishments seem like not really much of a surprise to me,” Cowley coach Cameron Rieth said. “She ran a really smart, tactical race. She runs with her heart and had a tremendous season.”
Suied’s first-place finish was one of three top 15 finishes for the Lady Tigers.
Sophomore Zinara Lesley (19:41.99, sixth place) garnered second-team All-American honors, freshman Karissa Glover (19:56.02, 11th) was an honorable mention All-American and Megan Reynolds (20:26.3, 24th) earned Coaches Association All-American honors.
“They were all willing to step up to the challenge and were major contributors to what we were able to accomplish,” Rieth said.
The Lady Tigers posted a score of 68, just three points better than runner-up Heartland Community College of Illinois.
“I am so proud of this team, I can’t say enough about what they accomplished,” Rieth said. “It is a dang good day to be a Tiger.”
Other Lady Tigers who helped to bring home the national title were Sierra Saenz (21:06.39, 43rd), Paula Viciano-Cansino (21:36.98, 55th) and Karstyn Nolan (23:57.89, 101st).
“We did not know if we would be able to get through the season with everything going on outside the program, so it was just a blessing to be able to compete,” Rieth said.
NJCAA Division II National Championships
Saturday at Fort Dodge, Iowa
Final Team Scores — 1. Cowley 68; 2. Heartland 71; 3. Hawkeye 103; 4. Grand Rapids 125; 5. St. Clair County 178; 6. Wallace State 184; 7. Pasco-Hernando State 199; 8. Daytona State 206; 9. Kaskaskia 225; 10. North Iowa Area 276; 11. UA Rich Mountain 281; 12. Muskegon 301; 13. Lake County 312; 14. Marion Military Institute 365; 15. Mott 386; 16. South Florida State 391.
D-III National Champion — Lubna Suied (Cowley), 18:30.5.
Cowley — 1. Lubna Suied 18:30.5; 6. Zinara Lesley 19:41.99; 11. Karissa Glover 19:56.02; 24. Megan Reynolds 20:26.3; 43. Sierra Saenz 21:06.39; 55. Paula Viciano-Cansino 21:36.98; 101. Karstyn Nolan 23:57.89.