LCC best in Divison II at nationals
Both LCC cross country teams placed in the top 10 in the 2013 NJCAA Division I National Meet Nov. 9 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
The women finished fourth overall out of 34 teams and the men finishing 10th. The women’s team was seven points away from a top-three finish.
For the women, LCC freshman Alison Dible finished 20th out of 281 runners with a 3.1-mile time of 19:14. Freshman Alyssa Abendroth was the next LCC finisher in 19:22.
LCC sophomore and men’s co-captain Chris Gantt finished 54th out of 298 runners with a five-mile time of 26:53. Sophomore co-captain Joe Marrah was next for LCC in 56th place with a time of 26:53.
LCC Head Coach Chuck Block said he was very proud of both LCC teams for their showing in Iowa.
“I was real happy with the way they performed,” Block said. “The top-three (women’s) teams ahead of (us) were all huge Division I programs.”
Both the LCC teams were the top Division II teams nationally in their respective races. No other MCCAA team finished higher than 12th overall.
Throughout the 2013 season Block said he hoped his women’s team would hit its stride at the right time. He said they indeed picked the biggest stage to lay down their best times of the season.
“We ran our best race of the year,” Block said. “With the women I was just ecstatic the way we ran. We had people step it up like Alyssa Abendroth, who ran the best race of her career.”
Even though the men’s team did not finish as high as the women’s team, Gantt said the team followed a successful game plan for the season finale.
“The top seven would run together for the first mile of the meet,” Gantt said. “Me and Joe would carry the rest of the mileages. We did have the best times, but we achieved the goal of having everybody at least finish in the same area.”
Competing in a Division I Championship meant stiffer competition from schools with more resources. Being one of the leaders for both LCC teams, Gantt explained the pride LCC runners felt for holding their own on a national stage.
“It means a lot,” Gantt said. “Without the team I wouldn’t have been as fast of a runner as I am today. These guys helped me and pushed me through even on my worst days. It’s an honor to run with these guys.”