(Vancouver, Wash.) After three beautiful days, the weather in Vancouver, Washington turned seasonal, which is to say rainy as the NAIA Men's Cross Country National Championships got underway. The four-loop course at Fort Vancouver became muddier and more slippery with each lap making the short hills and sharp corners more of a challenge.
Cornerstone senior, Travis Mabe led his team for the final time, working his way from 85th in the open mile then passing a dozen or so competitors each time around the two kilometer circuit. Classmate, Cody Risch pulled the rest of the CU pack then broke away in the final miles.
Aiming for a spot in the top 30, Mabe reached 32nd with one mile to go. He finished the race in 25:31, his best time of his four races here, placing 41st. "I thought Travis ran exactly like he wanted to but fell a little short of his goal," said coach Nate Van Holten. "Cody ran well cracking the top 100 [96th in 26:05] and Zach Bourdon ran 8 seconds off his PR [27:43 / 254th]on a tough course and a tough day. Cornerstone fourth senior, Jared Courtright, gave a determined effort, having spent the previous day feeling quite sick. He finished in 169th with a time of 26:47.
Between Risch and Courtright, were Thomas Bambach (133rd / 26:30) and Louis Falland (161st / 26:43). Tyler Grey placed 300th in 29:17.
Van Holten was fairly pleased with the results, "We finished 19, which is our third best at nationals. It's been a season of ups and downs, bumps and bruises and this week has been like that as well. We handled that well. We came in ranked 18th and finished 19th after not running our best so I can live with that."