Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2012, 10:26 pm

College national cross country meets

Comment on this story

By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com

Today: The Quad Cities will be represented by three factions at the National Cross Country Championships.

Both the St. Ambrose men's and women's teams will be competing in the NAIA National Championships at Fort Vancouver Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash., after winning their respective Midwest Collegiate Conference team titles. The women run at 12:30 p.m. (CST) and the men follow at 1:45 p.m. It is the first tip to nationals as a team for the men since 2009 and the first women's team nationals appearance since 1991. The Top 30 individuals earn NAIA All-America honors.

Augustana College senior Jonathan Smith, a former Moline prep, is competing as an individual at the NCAA Div. III Championship at 10 a.m. (CST) at LaVerne Gibson Course in Terre Haute, Ind. Top 35 individuals earn NCAA All-America honors.

SAU men: John Darmody (Sr., Everett, Wash.), Kevin Randle (Sr., Kenosha, Wis.), Ryan Buchanan (Sr., Charles City, Iowa), Tanner Arntzen (Soph., Quincy Notre Dame HS), Tyler Norby (Sr., Dubuque Wahlert HS), Dean Knieps (Soph., Tinley Park Andrew HS), and Jay Whitmore (Sr., Calumus-Wheatland HS).

SAU women: Chelsee Lisk (Sr., Rushville) Tina Eden (Sr., Moline), Becca Wilder (Soph., Davenport Central HS), Morgan Meseke (Jr., Pleasant Valley HS), Nicole Wager (Fr., Kewanee Wethersfield HS), Megan Miller (Soph., Orion), Kate Groenhagen (Fr., Oregon, Ill.).

SAU notes: Coach Dan Zeimet said today's national meet is a lot like the local Bix 7 road race where there is always a strong international flavor among the leaders. Zeimet would like to see his men's team finish in the 28th position with the women in the 25-30 range. He thought that Darmody, running again in front of friends and family, and Randle could crack the top 100 finishers. Darmody and Randle are both four-time national qualifiers.

"We are already in select company with the Top 32 teams here," Zeimet said. " We're not going to put a whole lot of pressure on them place-wise. We just want them to go out and run their race.''

Zeimet said an already soft course – comprised of a 2K-loop – could get even trickier with rain expected overnight. He says the grass on the course is ankle deep, which could make for treacherous conditions.

Augie notes: Smith, the senior captain in his first national trip, has been running well of late. He ran 24:56.30 to finish 15th at the tough Midwest Regional to earn his nationals trip. He also finished fifth at the CCIW Meet in a time of 24:45 over 8K.
-- By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com