KANSAS CITY, MO. (Nov. 17, 2021) - The 36 team, 82 individual championship field has been announced for the 66th Annual NAIA Men's Cross Country National Championship that will be held on Nov. 19. The event will take place in Vancouver, Wash.
Head Coach Patrick Torres said, "The men's team is really young with a few exceptions. This trip for most of them is about experiencing the highest level of racing and getting the nerves out for their bright futures. We may have the best team finish in school history, but that would just be a cherry on top of a good season for this young men's group."
The Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) men's cross-country team captured its seventh Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) title on Nov. 5 to earn a berth in the championships. Jose Zarate (JR/Mentone Beach, Calif.) captured the 8k individual medal with a time of 18:50. He was followed by Julio Sanchez (FR/Philadelphia, Pa.) at 25:30, Nathaniel Rodriguez (JR/San Antonio, Texas) at 26:03, JoseCarlos Hernandez (FR/Natalia, Texas) at 26:07, Isaac Martinez (JR/Weslaco, Texas) at 26:13, Hendrick Ramirez (FR/El Paso, Texas) at 26:36.2, Diego Moran (FR/San Antonio, Texas) at 26:36.3, Antonio Bustamante (SR/El Paso, Texas) at 26:36.7, Joseph Gonzalez (FR/Laredo, Texas) at 26:59 and Hector Puente (SR/McAllen, Texas) at 27:17. The OLLU runners were the 1-10 finishers and made the All-Conference team. Bustamante and Hernandez's finishes were personal records. Sanchez won the Runner-Up and Freshman of the Year awards.
Hernandez, Martinez, Moran, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Sanchez and Zarate will compete for OLLU at the meet. Bustamante will be an alternate runner.
- This is the sixth year that the championship will be hosted in Vancouver, Wash., at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Championship Course. The Cascade Collegiate Conference serves as the host for the national championship.
- The field is made up of 22 automatic qualifiers, one host berth and 12 at-large berths. For a conference to earn their automatic berth six teams must finish the conference meet with five runners or, in the case of two berths, 12 teams must finish the conference meet with five runners. The second automatic qualifier must also be ranked in the top 30 in the final poll to be awarded automatic qualification.
- Bushnell (Ore.) received the host berth.
- In addition to the team qualifiers and at-large bids, 82 athletes will compete as individual qualifiers.
- The 2020 men's cross country national champion, Taylor (Ind.), returns to the championship this year.
- The race will be broadcast for the second time this year on the NAIA Network. To access the live video stream and purchase a pass CLICK HERE.