Portland, OR—It took some determined running over the final quarter-mile of the 5,000 meter course, but in the end the North Central boys cross county team prevailed in the Nike Cross Nationals, earning the title of the best cross country team in the nation. NC, which placed sixth in Nike Cross Nationals last year, became the first team winner from west of the Mississippi.
It was a fitting end to a spectacular year for the team, which was ranked first in national polls at the beginning of the season and never gave up that spot. Running as the North Spokane Cross Country Club, the NC boys scored 134 points, beating perennial Illinois powerhouses Elmhurst (York High School) and Naperville (North High School), which scored 151 and 195 respectively. Fourth place was The Woodlands of Texas with 197 points.
Senior Andrew Kimpel led the NC charge with a tenth place finish, the sixth team scoring runner. Other NC scorers were Leon Dean, Jeff Howard, Ben Johnston and Alex Avila. Casey Evans and Adam Reid rounded out the team.
According to a tally from computer chips attached to the runners’ shoes, NC led the race at 1,000 meters, but had fallen out of the top five with 1,000 meters to go. NC regained the lead with the help of a final surge by team members. According to observers, Alex Avila passed 20 runners over the final 100 meters.
“Our goal was to pass as many runners as we could at the end,” Leon Dean was quoted as saying in an article in the Spokesman-Review.
This is the first time a cross country team from the state of Washington has finished the season as the top team in the nation, based on either a national poll or a championship race.
Additional information on Nike Team Nationals is available at http://www.runnerspace.com/nxn.
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