Kevin Batt – Adams State College Red Shirt Freshmen
The South Central Champ will be competing in his first NCAA Cross Country Championship come Saturday, but don’t let that fool you: this cat has experience. Batt placed 38th in the World Junior Cross Country Championships last year representing his home country of Australia.
Batt brings some very impressive credentials to the table with a second place finish at the Stanford Invite running a 24:09. The Grizzly also took home the individual title at the Joe Vigil Open and placed fourth at the very competitive RMAC Championships.
Coach Martin Says… “Kevin has had a very solid season and is improving as the season comes to a close. He put in a good base and should be ready for a great performance at NCAA’s.”
Isaiah Samoei – Eastern New Mexico Senior
The senior hailing from Eldoret, Kenya looks to rebound from last year’s 66th place finish. Mr. Samoei pressed Batt of Adams hard at the South Central Championships but came up just short of the individual title by one second.
Samoei is a two time Lone Star Champion and has twice claimed runner-up honors at the South Central Championships. Don’t count this guy out, he can most definitely run with the big dogs!
Pardon Ndhlovu – UNC Pembroke Senior
Pardon will be making his fourth trip to NCAA Championships for the Braves. In 2009 he earned All American honors placing 30th. The Harare, Zimbabwe native brings the 2012 South East Regional title to the table and with a load of championship experience he may leave some people scratching their heads.
Coach Aycock says… “Pardon is looking to finish out his stellar season in style. He has won the individual title at both the Peach Belt Conference Meet and NCAA DII Southeast Regional for the second straight year. He won the UNC Charlotte Invitational and placed 3rd at both the Winthrop Invitational and in his respective race at the DI Pre-National meet. His school-record, personal best in was set in Louisville earlier this year, running a 24:15 in the 8k race. He has also run 24:18, 24:20, and 24:25 this year”
Micah Chelimo – Alaska Anchorage Senior
The word “lose” is not even in Micah’s vocabulary: the senior from Alaska Anchorage has been unbeaten through the entire 2012 cross country season. Chelimo defended his 2011 GNAC and West Region titles for Michael Friess’ Seawolves.
Chelimo is a three time All American placing as high as 15th in 2011. He’s proved that he’s ready for battle after going toe to toe with the boys from Chico at the Western Regional Championships.
Coach Friess says… “Micah is a very hard working and motivated student athlete who has really come a long ways since joining our program. Micah has helped lead our team to our highest levels ever over the past four years through his dedication and commitment to his teammates. He has trained very hard and is very motivated. We are very excited to see the results of Micah’s hard work this Saturday.”
Adrian Sherrod, Alfonso Cisneros, Isaac Chavez – Chico State, All Juniors
Sorry gentlemen, but we’re limited on time and man/woman power to do all the research on you dudes. These Cats have been prepping all year to make some noise come Saturday.
Chavez comes in with the top credentials finishing in the top five (2010 – 5th, 2011 – 3rd) in the last two Championship’s. Sherrod earned All American honors in 2011 with a 19th place finish and The Fonz is looking for a little pay back after two years of disappointment.
We have to give the nod to Chavez who has proven time and time again that he is a big meet runner. More importantly, though, can the Cats take home a title?
Coach Towne Says… “The three bring a strong scoring punch for us. Isaac has twice finished in the top 5 and Adrian was a top 20 guy last year. The Fonz has gained a lot of confidence by racing with them.”
Alex Monroe – Lock Haven Junior
Monroe – a two time All American finishing tenth in 2011 – looks primed for an even better 2012 championship race. The junior from Lock Haven has been outstanding all year, looking very controlled while defending both his PSAC and East Region titles from a year ago.
Don’t be surprised if Coach Aaron Russell’s big dog is hanging around in the later stages of the race. This guy’s speed is deceiving and he will pull away from his competitors in a heartbeat.
Coach Russell Says… “Alex has been looking the strongest I’ve seen him, and is ready to make another run at the top ten this year after finishing tenth last season. He’s a very intelligent runner, and has also gained a lot of confidence this season. He has very high goals, and I think he’s ready to go after a good race in Joplin.”
Frank Fezza – East Stroudsburg Senior
Frank who? Yeah, we’ve known about Frank for a while but things just haven’t clicked for him in a big way over the last three years. The good thing though is everything has come together for his final season at ESU. Fezza is no joke and pushed Monroe at both the PSAC and Atlantic Region races.
Fezza claimed titles at the Fordham Invite, D II Challenge and Paul Short Brown Division. Frank’s not afraid to stick his nose in the thick of things and has a lot left in the tank for Joplin.
Coach Koch says… “He had a great season and he is looking forward to the challenge of racing against the nations best.”
Travis Beniak – Augustana Junior
The Augustana junior picked a good time for a win, taking home the Central Region crown over teammates Adam Braun and Paul Yak as well as Missouri Southern’s Eric Shott.
Beniak red shirted last season but has experience at the show competing at both the ’09 and ’10 Championships. Can lighting strike twice? Will Beniak surprise once again? Stay tuned!
Paul Yak – Augustana Junior
The two time NSIC Champion didn’t quite have the outing expected at the central regional championships due to illness, but he has rebounded before and we feel that it will happen once again. Yak crossed the line 11th at the 2011 NCAA Championship meet and has the ability to go top 10 this season.
If Yak and his Viking teammates pack up and keep rolling throughout the moderately flat Missouri Southern course you may see a host of blue and yellow grab All American honors. We also look forward to seeing what color his Mohawk will be this year.
Coach Hellman Says…“Travis ran his best race of the season at the Regional Championship’s. We have been training a high volume all year long and finally dropped his volume to get his legs underneath him. This was a huge benefit as he was able to stay relaxed and strong throughout the whole race. We feel confident that his best race is still ahead of him at the National Championship’s.”
“Paul Yak is an athlete that I feel the sky is the limit. He has worked very hard this year to improve his endurance and is in the best fitness of his career. The higher the stakes the more focused he becomes and the better he races. Plus… the Mohawk is back and that always means it’s championship time!”
Jeff Veiga – U Mass Lowell – Senior
You’ve heard the saying Beast of the East? Well this is that guy! Veiga finished third at the 2010 championships and word is that he’s just as fit this year. After bowing to American International’s Mike Biwott at the Northeast 10 Championship’s Veiga became a man on a mission. At the East Regional Veiga rolled with Biwott and then dropped the hammer with a 1000m to go with no response. Hold on to your hats when this big boy gets rolling!
Coach Gardner Says…” Jeff ran a very good race at the East Regional meet. No one has tried to actually run with Biwott all season to test him. The group including Rop and two Southern Connecticut runners went through the mile in 4:33 and our goal was accomplished.” “Jeff is as fit as he was in 2010 when he placed third at the NCAA Championship’s so we are hoping for another top 10 finish at the Championships.”
Mike Biwott – American International Freshman
One of the top freshmen in the field, Biwott comes into Saturday’s race as a seasoned veteran. He led the Yellow Jackets to the East Regional title with a second place finish to U Mass Lowell’s Veiga. Biwott claimed both the New England and Northeast 10 Championship titles to send the message across the country that this freshman is legit.
Don’t be fooled by his second place finish at the East Region: Biwott’s not going to let anyone get an easy win in Joplin.
Coach Mayo Says… “Michael has been training and running well this whole cross country season, winning both the New England and Northeast 10 titles. He ran strong at the regional championship but was set back with a laceration that occurred early in the race. He has since been training really well and is looking for a top spot at the national championship.”
Matt Brooker – Cedarville Red Shirt Junior
Talk about having some good genes. The 2010 Mid East Conference runner-up comes from a family with some big time credentials. Brooker’s mom was an All American for the Yellow Jackets and the first runner to be inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame. Brooker’s brother was a 4 time All American for the Yellow Jackets. Is Matt the next Brooker to leave his mark at Cedarville?
The transfer from Bucknell sat out the 2011 season for Coach Orchard. This seemed to be a great move as the red shirt junior came back stronger then ever to capture the Midwest Individual Regional title.
Coach Orchard Says… “He went into the region meet determined to get up the first hill strong. He felt good at the top and had about 20 meters on the field, when he decided he would just keep the pace. He has run that way the last two meets, and feels comfortable with it, and decided he wasn’t going to change the way he has been racing.
Notable Dark Horses
Ian Butler Western State 3rd at the Central Region Champions
Spencer Frantom King College South East Runner-Up
Dak Riek Western Washington 5th in a very talented West Region
Bryan Diebel Edinboro 3rd in the Atlantic Region
Adam Braun Augustana Central Region runner up
Eric Shott Missouri Southern 5th in the Central Region and hometown boy
Glarius Rop AIC 3RD In the East Region
Michael Jordan Southern Indiana Mid West runner up and can slam dunk!
Moses Kirui Florida Tech South Region runner up