SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Senior Matt Pahl and junior Braden Reichl earned USTFCCCA All-America honors as the Michigan Tech men's and women's cross country teams competed on Saturday (Nov. 23) at the 2019 NCAA Division II National Championships.
Running at the Haggin Oaks Golf Course in Sacramento, California, Pahl crossed the finish line of the men's 10K race in a time of 30:17.8 to place 21st, a personal best for the senior from Plymouth, Michigan. Pahl moved into the top 30 around the 4.2K marker and wouldn't leave that grouping as he held off Saginaw Valley State's CarLee Stimpfel by 1.2 seconds.
Pahl was joined in the top 25 by his teammate Reichl, who crossed the line in 23rd with a personal-best time of 30:20.2 to score the second All-America finish of his cross country career. A junior from Green River, Wyoming, Reichl hit the one-mile marker in 76th and continued to climb through the field until he jumped into the top 40 at the 5K checkpoint. Reichl spent the next three kilometers moving through the pack until he reached 23rd at the 9.1K point, where he remained for the final homestretch of the race to finish 0.6 seconds in front of Tanner Chada of Grand Valley State.
Sophomore Clayton Sayen narrowly missed out on an All-America spot by finishing the race in 44th with a time of 30:56.4, edging out Nickson Kiptoo of Missouri Southern. Senior Brendan Klynstra ended his cross country career by placing 178th with a time of 32:33.8, while junior Robbie Watling recorded a time of 32:53.1 to finish 215th. Also running for the Huskies were juniors Nate Carey and Bobby Beggs. Carey finished the race in 221st with a time of 33:02.6, while Beggs took 226th in 33:12.7.
The men's team scored 417 points on the afternoon to finish 13th in the first National Championship race in Michigan Tech men's cross country history. The huskies finished 10 points ahead of Missouri Southern and 19 points behind Cal St. San Marcos. Colorado School of Mines took home the men's team trophy with a score of 57, finishing 79 points clear of second-place Adams State and 86 points ahead of Chico State in third. Ezra Mutai of American International was the top runner in the competition as the freshman crossed the finish line in a time of 29:31.2.
"Matt and Braden did another great job of being our 1-2 punch, and earning All-American honors is a great reward for those two," said head coach Jake Isaacson.
In the women's 6K race, senior Emily Byrd led the way with a finish of 55th in a time of 21:12.4. Sophomore Gabrielle Feber finished 145th in a time of 22:06.0, and junior Carly Huggins broke the tape shortly behind her with a time of 22:10.9 to take 149th.
Sophomore Sam Kurkowski, junior Amanda Kautzer, senior Sarah Goble, and freshman Mady VanWieren all ran for the Huskies in their first National Championships race. Kurkowski placed 157th with a time of 22:15.5, while Kautzer finished with a time of 22:25.4 to place 171st, Goble recorded a time of 22:40.0 to place 190th, and VanWieren clocked in at 23:52.7 to finish 249th.
The Huskies finished the day with 577 points, placing them 10 points behind Tampa and 43 points ahead of Wayne State for 24th. Adams State won the national title with 23 points, beating out Grand Valley State by 64 points in second and topping Colorado School of Mines by 110 points. The Grizzlies also saw one of their runners take home the individual title, as Stephanie Cotter crossed the line in a time of 19:15.5.
"We got buried pretty hard at the beginning of the race and we were never quite able to recover from that," Isaacson said. "They all gave great efforts and I'm proud of them for not giving up."