BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Both the men's and women's cross country teams earned their return trip the NAIA National Championships. This year's event will take place at McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 21. The men's race is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. (ET) with the women's to begin at 11:30 a.m.
The 2015 NAIA Women's Cross Country National Championships field will consist of 36 teams and 82 individuals. Olivet earned an automatic team bid with their Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday, Nov. 7.
Olivet, who finished 15th in the Final NAIA Coaches Top-25 poll, travelled with their top 10 runners. Seven members of the team will compete in the event with the top five times counting. Throughout the season, the Tigers have been led by Sarah Ray (JR/Warsaw, Ind.) and Elizabeth Soper (JR/Grand Rapids, Mich.). The due finished 3-4 at the strong CCAC Championship, both earning All-Conference honors. Alexa Beezhold (SO/Saint John, Ind.) and Alyssa Faulks (SR/Caldwell, Idaho) also earned All-Conference recognition, finishing seventh and 10th, respectively.
Meet the Top-5
Northwest Christian University (Ore.) finished the season as the unanimous top team in the country. Biola University (Cal.) and Aquinas College (Mich.) finished tied for second place, while Taylor University (Ind.) and Carroll University (Mont.) round out the top five. The CCAC is one of three conference to send three teams to the national stage, with Olivet being the top ranked.
The field will consist of 36 teams and 85 individuals for the 60th Annual NAIA Men's Cross Country National Championships. Olivet earned an automatic team bid with a Runner-Up finish at the CCAC Championships.
Dylan Creger (SR/Almont, Mich.) and Caleb Drake (JR/Rock Island, Ill.) look to lead the Tigers back to the podium. The duo put together All-American performances a season ago to bring home the programs first national hardware, finishing third. Creger captured first place in the CCAC Championships to earn CCAC Runner of the Year honors, while Drake was not far behind in third place, both earning All-Conference recognition. Matt Meehan (SO/Marshfield, Mass.) also earned an All-Conference nod, finishing 10th.
The men's team also travelled with the top 10 runners, with seven earning the right to compete in the race. Other's to watch for are Nicholas Fiene (FR/St. John, Ind.), Jeremy Brassard (FR/Strafford, N.H.), Jason Reynolds (JR/Rockford, Ill.) and Ronald Milbocker. All four finished in the top 20 at the CCAC meet.
Meet the Top-5
Oklahoma City University finished the season as the top ranked team after Southern Oregon lost the spot in the final poll, but remains second. Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) comes in ranked third, with Indiana Wesleyan University and Saint Mary College (Kan.) rounding out the top five. The University of St. Francis is the top ranked CCAC institution after capturing the championship last weekend.