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College cross country: TMC finishes 11th in NAIA

Mustangs get three All-American nods

Posted: November 20, 2010 10:28 p.m.
Updated: November 20, 2010 10:28 p.m.
 

Led by Canyon High graduate Anthony Pizzo, The Master’s College’s men’s cross country team finished 11th overall at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships on Saturday in Vancouver, Wash.

“We are definitely a program on the rise,” said TMC head coach Zach Schroeder. “We definitely aren’t content finishing 11th in the nation. We want to be a program competing for a national title.”

The Mustangs’ previous-best finish was 16th in 2006.

On Saturday, Pizzo finished ninth individually with a time of 25 minutes, 10 seconds, while teammate John Gilbertson wound up 12th with a time of 25:12. Both runners are sophomores.

Senior Jeff Jackson was 15th with a time of 25:21.

All three of the Mustangs top runners earned NAIA All-American honors, which are bestowed to the meets top 30 finishers.
“(This season) was a dream come true,” Jackson said. “I wanted to move the program in the right direction, and this year, we’ve really done that.”

After, Jackson, a steep drop-off cost the Mustangs. Nathan Seyler was 138th at 27:24 and David Eller was 157th at 27:46.
“That was a death sentence to put it lightly,” Schroeder said.

The Master’s College ended up with a team time of 2 hours, 10 minutes, 53 seconds, and an average of 26:11 per runner. The Mustangs came into the national meet ranked 11th in the country, and their team score was 331 points, the top score among Golden State Athletic Conference teams.

Southern Oregon won the national championship with 105 points, while Wayland Baptist’s Kennedy Kithuka was the individual champion with a time of 24:02. Wayland Baptist finished second.

TMC won the Golden State Athletic Conference championship on Nov. 6. It was the program’s first GSAC title, and the school’s third overall.

“To be a program that has come out of grassroots and accomplished what we have is extremely exciting,” Schroeder said. “What’s more encouraging, is that this one is just the beginning.”

Signal staff writer Paul Putignano contributed to this report.

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