Story by Alex Missey
The Vikings placed four runners inside the top 10 and five inside the top 15 at the Heart of America Athletic Conference Cross Country meet. They were paced by Phillip Cheriyout (freshman from Nairobi, Kenya) who took home second. Following closely behind Cheriyout was Spencer Head (freshman from Camas, Washington) who came in sixth. Finishing back-to-back for the Vikings at eighth and ninth were Nolan Ryan (freshman from St. Peters) and Ignacio Franco (senior from Hoesca, Spain). Ken Kipng’etech (senior from Kenya). These were the top five finishers for the Vikings giving them a team score of 37 and 10 point win over conference rival CMU.
Rounding out the varsity team on the men’s side were Chase Burgess (senior from Lamar, Missouri) in 16th and Will Lee (junior from Strafford, Missouri) finished in 19th. With the win the Vikings earned the right to run at the NAIA National Championship Race in Lawrence, Kansas. On the girls side of the race the Vikings had one finished inside the top 15 Amanda Buhr (senior from Jefferson City, Missouri) received all conference by coming in 14th. The team wasn’t the only one who brought home honors as Head Coach Nathan Christianson received HAAC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the year.
The Heart of American Conference cross country meet was held in Marshall, Missouri for the first time in the history of NAIA. The meet was held at Indian Foothills Golf Course on November 9th. The Vikings wanted to defend their home turf and take home a conference title for the first time in 27 years. With the course being one of the hardest ones this year the Vikings had their work cut out for them. The men’s team had a tough race ahead of them with the nationally ranked Central Methodist Eagles standing in the starting box next to them. The Vikings went out and got good positions throughout the race.