By Sylvester “Nunnie” Robinson
Last week’s column covered the myriad successes achieved by the Dillard girl’s cross country team under the dynamic leadership of Coach Davidson Gill. In an effort to highlight, educate and create more interest in a sport surely deserving, I wanted to chronicle the successes of the women’s and men’s championship teams: North Carolina State University (women) and Northern Arizona University (men).
First, it is important to note that great runners may enjoy individual success ,but it takes depth and a group of hardworking, dedicated athletes to have team success which is especially important in cross country. You may recall in last week’s article it was noted that Stanford University, Tiger Woods’ alma mater, was the prohibitive favorite to win the team championships, and though they won the individual title with Charles Hicks winning first place overall in a time of 28:43, the men of NAU had other plans, placing three of their runners in the top five while the Standford runners underperformed. With the men from NAU and OSU finishing in an NCAA unprecedented tiebreaker and though OSU had the better 6th place time, tiebreakers by rule are determined by the top five finishers in head to head matchups of teams tied. NAU had the higher first, second and fourth place runners while OSU had the higher third and fifth place runners. NAU won the head to head competition 3-2. Led by overall second place runner Nico Young, NAU finished in first place with a team low score of 83 points followed by OSU. BYU was third with 132 while Stanford finished a disappointing fourth place scoring 195 points. Young’s teammate, Kelsey Chmiel, finished third overall in a 10K time of 19:37.
The importance of having multiple runners for team success was even more apparent in the women’s 6K event. Katelyn Tuohy finished first overall with a time of 19:27, 3 seconds ahead of second place finisher, Florida Gator Parker Valby, who finished with a time of 19:30; however, four of Kate’s teammates placed in the top 29, giving the Wolfpack their second consecutive NCAA cross country title. These races, held at the Greiner Family OSU Cross Country Course, were broadcast by ESPN and can be easily accessed at anytime.
Sometimes it takes awhile for a sport to catch fire, but based on the foundation being established at Dillard by Coach Gill and his girls, it’s just a matter of time, commitment and exposure.
Some of the top XC programs in Broward include the following: St. Thomas Aquinas, Dillard, Flanagan, Ft. Lauderdale and Boyd Anderson. Finally, athletes who run distance events in track are usually cross country participants as well. Come on Broward County! Let’s support these outstanding student/Athletes and dedicated coaches.
PS- FAU’s Football coach Willie Taggart was fired, Jackson State hired TC Taylor to replace Deion Sanders and Mississippi State’s Mike Leach passed suddenly after being admitted to a hospital in Starkville.
Last evening on MBF, quarterback Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals injured his knee, ironically as he slid to avoid serious injury. See you next week.