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The dead of winter is the perfect time to leave Michigan and head to Jamaica. Better still, to do so as a member of team USA. Cornerstone alumnus, Zach Ripley leaves today as one of five men representing the US at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Cross Country Championships (NACAC). The meet is open to 31 nations in the region. Ripley will run in the 8 kilometer senior men's race on January 26.
Ripley earned his spot on the team by placing tenth at the USA Track & Field Club Cross Country Championships on December 8, 2012. The 2010 Cornerstone grad covered the 10 kilometer course in 30:33.96, leading his Playmakers Elite / New Balance team to a fifth place finish out of 42 teams.
As a Golden Eagle, Ripley earned All-America honors three times in Cross Country and four times in Track & Field as well as being the 2010 NAIA National Champion in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. He has continued to train and complete post collegiately while teaching high school English at West Michigan Aviation Academy.
Cornerstone Men's Cross Country Coach, Nate Van Holton has remained Ripley's coach since college, "We were planning on trying to make a US team in the next two years so this has bumped up the schedule and expectations a little in preparation for 2016."