(Editor's note: Rocky Mountain College news release)
VANCOUVER, Wash. — Jackson Wilson finished with a nine-second victory at the NAIA National Championship meet on Friday to earn the program’s first individual national championship.
Wilson began the race behind the lead pack, crossing the 2k mark in 20th place overall. In the next two kilometers, Wilson brought himself back up to the front group, where he maintained a fourth-place position through the 6k checkpoint. The group started to separate in the final two kilometers, as Wilson emerged along with St. Mary’s Emad Bashir-Mohammed as the top two runners entering the final kilometer of the race. Wilson waited until the right time to make his move, and he cruised away from the competition, eventually crossing the finish line as a national champion with a time of 24:31.8. His finish was 9.1 seconds ahead of the rest of the competition as he became the first individual champion in school history.
Wilson finished 16th overall in last season’s championship in Tallahassee, Florida with a time of 24:34.3 and finished 14th overall in the 2020 National Championship in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a time of 24:54.04, making this his third career Cross Country All-American honor.
The Rocky men finished 18th overall as a team. Corbyn Svec was the next Battlin’ Bear to cross the line, finishing 60th overall with a time of 25:54.3. Justin Glass finished 133rd with a time of 26:30.3, Matthew Conrad finished 182nd with a time of 26:55.1, and Joseph Orndorff finished 248th with a time of 27:32.9 to round out Rocky’s scorers. The Battlin' Bears were the top finishers of the Frontier Conference, ahead of Carroll College in 20th place and Montana Tech in 25th place.
On the women’s side, the Battlin’ Bears finished 26th overall as a team with a team score of 661. They were led by a top-50 finish by sophomore Jayden Woodland, who climbed over 50 places throughout the race to finish 49th overall with a time of 22:55.3. Freshman Taylen Stinson crossed the finish line within the top 100 finishers with a time of 23:28.6, putting her 92nd overall. Grace Timm finished 213th with a time of 24:36.0, Chloe Bryntesen finished 265th with a time of 25:21.6, and Tyne Stokes finished 288th with a time of 25:57.1 to round out Rocky’s scorers.
The Battlin’ Bears conclude their 2023 cross country season as they look ahead to the upcoming indoor track and field season.