No. 19 Columbus State Men’s Cross Country Qualifies for Nationals
Charlotte, NC – Meshack Koyiaki continued his spectacular season winning the Southeast Regional hosted by Queens University of Charlotte in a time of 29:45 on the difficult 10K McAlpine Creek Park course. As a team, CSU finished second (79 pts) receiving an automatic bid to the Cross Country Championships held on December 4 at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.
Koyiaki was neck-and-neck with Michael Crouch (Queens) heading into the final 400 meters of the race. Crouch made the first move trying to pull away, but Koyiaki quickly countered and sped past Crouch for his sixth victory of the season.
Nicholas Kering placed third in the race coming in with a time of 30:38 for the Cougars. Pardon Ndhlovu (UNC Pembroke) and Simon Stuetzel (Queens) rounded out the top five finishers in the race. David Marley finished 12th in a time of 32:04. He, along with teammates Kering and Koyiaki, earned All-Southeast Region honors for being a Top-15 finisher.
Stephen Bowers (32:50) and Andy Henderson (33:41) rounded out the CSU scoring, as they completed the course in 24th and 42nd place, respectively. Also running for Columbus State was Nathan Pricket who finished 66th with a time of 34:25 and Justin Keith ran 36:06 to take 98th place.
"The final stretch with Meshack and (Michael) Crouch was something to watch as they'll both be favorites at Nationals," said head coach J.D. Evilsizer. "We ran really well today as a team and I took a gamble keeping Ian Edwards out to let him get healthy for Nationals and it paid off. Our goal is to crack the top 10 in two weeks as a team with a healthy Ian running with the rest of the guys."
Just like after the Peach Belt Conference Championship, CSU will have a two week break before returning to the course for the final team this season. The NCAA Division II Cross Country Championship will be held on Saturday, December 4 in Louisville, Kentucky as part of a Fall Championship Festival the NCAA will be hosting. The men's and women's soccer "Final Four" and National Championship games will also be played in Louisville as part of the festival.