FORT DODGE, Iowa- Iowa Central claimed its third national championship in program history Saturday in cold and blustery conditions for the NJCAA Division I Cross Country National Championships. All three titles have come in just the last four years.
The Tritons as a team led at every half-mile checkpoint on the course.
Iowa Central's Ezekiel Kipchirchir led the race from the 3.5 mile mark until the 4.5 checkpoint. Southern Idaho's Eric Fitzpatrick (24:45) edged out Kipchirchir (24:48.5) in the final half-mile to win the individual title.
Kipchirchir's second place finish was closely followed three seconds later by teammate Karim Achengli. The two Tritons combined five team points proved valuable at the end.
Iowa Central's Jhordan Ccope finshed 15th overall with a time of 25:34.5. Teammates Josh Jacques and Gemechu Meskele rounded out the Triton scoring with finsihes of 18th and 27th to equate to the team score of 65 points.
NIACC's Brian Jacques set a school record for a national championship finish, recording a time of 25:13.0, good for seventh overall.
Team Results (with Top 5 ICCAC teams included)
|3||South Plains (TX)||147|
|5||Allen County (KS)||222|
Top 10 finishers (with Top 50 ICCAC finishers included)
|1||Eric Fitzpatrick||Southern Idaho||24:45.0|
|2||Ezekial Kipchirchir||Iowa Central||24:48.5|
|3||Karim Achengli||Iowa Central||24:51.6|
|4||Manuel Olivo-Quinones||Central Arizona||24:52.6|
|5||Felix Kosgei||South Plains (TX)||25:06.5|
|6||Evan Franklin||Vincennes (IN)||25:11.4|
|8||Alex Masai||Monroe College (NY)||25:17.2|
|9||Jack Mastandrea||Louisburg College (NC)||25:18.2|
|10||Moses Dirane||Cloud County (KS)||25:24.1|
|15||Jhordan Ccope||Iowa Central||25:34.5|
|18||Josh Jacques||Iowa Central||25:48.2|
|27||Gemechu Meskele||Iowa Central||26:02.3|
|30||Innocent Murwanashyaka||Iowa Central||26:07.3|
|33||Brian Kitur||Iowa Western||26:11.1|
|43||Dennis Kibowen||Iowa Western||26:32.5|