VANCOUVER, WA – History was made on the grounds of historic Fort Vancouver when the No. 7 Lewis-Clark State College Men’s Cross Country team posted their best finish in program history at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships. Led by three All-Americans, the Warriors placed third with a total of 187 points. The trio of Cole Olsen, Clayton VanDyke and Chase Barrow earned All-American honors. The third-place finish marks the ninth year in a row that a Mike Collins’ squad has finished in the national meet’s top 10.
The women finished 18th at the meet with 489 points. The ladies of LC State, unranked heading into the event, met their goal of placing in the nation’s top 25. Emily Adams led the Warrior women in 60th.
Olsen placed fourth in the field of 335 with a time of 24:55. VanDyke ran to an 11th-place finish with a time of 25:10, and Barrow was just behind him in 15th (25:14).
“I know the whole team has worked so hard and it has all come to fruition,” Olsen said. “I am super happy about it.”
Olsen began the race in the lead pack and maintained his pace to stay amongst the leaders. VanDyke and Barrow traded places throughout the race before VanDyke sprinted ahead in the final stretch.
Connor Turpin and Dillon Dawson rounded out the top five for LC State and both finished in the top 100. Turpin placed 92nd (26:20), and Dawson took 96th (26:22). Colton Smith (163rd – 26:52) and Layton Ahlers (260th – 27:51) also contributed to the team’s success.
“It really is a team sport,” Collins said. “Our top three guys did what they did all year and exceeded what my expectations might have been. They key really is the team part of it. Connor and Dillon as our fourth and fifth guys today really closed the door. We return all these guys that ran today next year, so look out. We are ready to go.”
The Warrior women were one of the final teams to receive an at-large berth into the National Championships and were unranked ahead of the race. The team set a goal to prove themselves and finish in the top 25, and they did just that. Led by a 60th-place finish by Adams (19:06), the women placed 18th as a team.
“We wanted to prove people wrong and finish higher than a 27th ranking,” Adams said. “We achieved that.”
Callie Johnson (105th – 19:29), Evelin Lopez (131st – 19:39), Rylee Brown (145th – 19:46) and Ciera Bailey (205th – 20:07) rounded out the top five for LC State. Maja Plaznik (263rd – 20:47) and Carli Jones (265th – 20:48) brought up the rear to put the Warriors in the top 20.
“Coming in ranked 27th is something we are not used to,” Collins said. “We came in with a little bit of an attitude and finished in the top 20 and I couldn’t be more excited. They were Warriors today, and again we return everyone that ran today.”
MEN: 4. Cole Olsen – 24:55 | 11. Clayton VanDyke – 25:10 | 15. Chase Barrow – 25:14 | 92. Connor Turpin – 26:20 | 96. Dillon Dawson – 26:22 | 163. Colton Smith – 26:52 | 260. Layton Ahlers – 27:51
WOMEN: 60. Emily Adams – 19:06 | 105. Callie Johnson – 19:29 | 131. Evelin Lopez – 19:39 | 145. Rylee Brown – 19:46 | 205. Ciera Bailey – 20:07 | 263. Maja Plaznik – 20:47 | 265. Carli Jones – 20:48