(Editor’s note: Carroll College athletics release)
HELENA — Three Carroll College cross country runners are looking to make their mark at the NAIA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country National Championships on Friday.
Frontier Conference men’s champion and Carroll College senior Chance Hyatt of Bainville will be one of the men representing the Saints in Iowa. Junior runner John Cooney of Spokane, Wash., will also be running in his first national meet.
Hyatt won the conference title in a time of 25:39, while Cooney finished in 10th in a time of 26:49.
“Chance is looking great,” Saints coach Ryan Utsey said. ”We had pretty hard workouts last week, building some confidence for him and Johnny. Both have been doing great with postseason workouts.”
Senior Sam Mundel of Coram will represent the women. Mundel finished second at the Frontier Conference championship in a time of 18:57.
“Sam has continued to improve every day,” Utsey said.
The Saints will be running at a slightly lower elevation when they take to the course in Iowa, dropping about 700 feet.
“It should be considerably easier to run down there,” Utsey said.
A particularly wet fall in the Midwest means the course conditions will be soggy come race time on Friday. The Saints will have a chance to practice on the course on Thursday.
“The biggest part is getting mentally ready to run against some of the best runners in the country,” Utsey said. “We believe they can be up there with the front-runners.”
The 36-team event, which also features 83 individual runners, will take place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The men’s 8K and women’s 5K will be run on the Seminole Valley Cross Country course, which opened in 2015 and is a mix of groomed fields and wetlands.
“For the seniors, it’s last-ever cross country race,” Utsey said. “Leave it all out on the line. The biggest goal is to reach your potential.”
The women’s race is slated to begin at 10:30 a.m. CST followed by the men’s at 11:30.