After three days of suspense, the NAIA has announced that the Lewis-Clark State College women’s cross country team has received an at-large bid to the 2010 NAIA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country National Championships. In addition, Warriors Kelsey Klettke and Dave Marks brought home conference runner of the year honors, with Mike Collins named men’s coach of the year, the Frontier Conference announced Sunday.
The women’s team will join the men’s team, which qualified for nationals with its victory at the conference championships last Friday. The LC women finished second at the conference championships, but raced well enough to advance four spots to No. 20 in the final rankings of the season and propel themselves to their 10th consecutive national championship appearance.
“On the men’s side the excitement was there at the [conference] meet, and that has had its chance to ebb,” Collins said. “Today I’ve had girls in my office all day long asking if I have heard yet, so it’s a big sigh of relief. We feel fortunate that we received the last berth.”
The 55th Annual Men’s and 31st Annual Women’s event will take place at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash., on Nov. 20. The women’s 5K run is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. PST, followed by the men’s 8K at 11:45 a.m.
At nationals, the Warriors will be led by Frontier Conference runners of the year Klettke (women’s) and Marks (men’s), and four-time men’s coach of the year Collins. Klettke and Marks were each obvious choices for the awards after earning every conference runner of the week award in their categories this season. Klettke also earned NAIA runner of the week honors on Oct. 27.
“Kelsey [Klettke] has a real shot at being an all-American, which has been one of her goals,” Collins said. “Marks and a couple of others on the men’s team also have a shot to be all-Americans.”
The 2010 men’s and women’s All-Conference teams were also announced Sunday. The teams consist of the top-10 finishers at the conference championship meet. The men’s team includes LC runners Marks (So., Lake Oswego, Ore.), Fernando Esperanza (Jr., Huesca, Spain), Grant Eldridge (Jr., Clackamas, Ore.), Chris McConnell (Sr., Portland, Ore.) and Jake Miller (Sr., Craig, Colo.). LC runners on the women’s All-Conference include Klettke (Jr., Vancouver, Wash.), Stephanie Shuel (Jr., Yakima, Wash.), Amanda Palmer (Jr., Weiser, Idaho), Madison Randall (Fr., Eugene, Ore.) and Shaelie Edwards (Sr., Pleasant Grove, Utah).