Next stop: Nationals
by Garrett Finke
The Western State Colorado University cross country teams will move on to the NCAA Division II National Championships after the women finished second and the men finished third at the NCAA Division II South Central Region Championships on Saturday.
Keifer Johnson (Jr., Highlands Ranch, Colo.) was the top individual finisher for Western. Keifer won the men’s title in a time of 29:50.50.
Running at the South Central Region Championships in Canyon, Texas for the second time in three years, Western cross country posted quality results. Johnson became the second Western male runner in three years to win the individual regional title. The last champion, Vegard Olstad, also won the title at Canyon in 2013.
The seventh-ranked Western women finished second as a team and runner Georgia Porter (Jr., Stevenson, Oregon) finished second individually with a time of 20:48.80 in the women’s six-kilometer race. Finishing behind Porter was Western’s Cali Antolini (Sr., Fountain, Colo.) in 11th place. Antolini crossed the finish line in 21:45.40, while the following runner, Western’s Alicja Konieczek (So., Zsrit, Poland), finished five seconds behind in a time of 21:50.10. After Johnson, the next finisher for the Mountaineer men was John Patterson (Jr., Fort Collins, Colo.). Patterson finished 14th overall with a time of 30:44.90. Following Patterson was Western runner Bryant Byrd (So., Perrysburg, Ohio) in 28th place.
Also scoring points for the women’s team were runners Mackenzie Mills (So., Napa, Calif.) in 17th place, Sophie Seward (So., Marion, Ind.) in 18th place, Cassidy Ahrens (Fr., Fruita, Colo.) in 22nd place, and Amy Penn (Jr., Colorado Springs) in 26th.
Adams State University won both the men’s and women’s team titles. The Mountaineers will now prepare for the NCAA Division II National Championships on November 21 in Joplin, Mo.