The Shippensburg University men’s cross-country team improved six spots from its 2016 season finish in the NCAA Division II National Championships with a 10th-place performance at the University of Southern Indiana. All seven runners for the Raiders ran a new PR at the event and three earned scoring positions in the Top 80.
It was the second Top-10 finish at the championships in the past three years for the squad, which was led by Alex Balla in his final appearance at the tournament. Balla took 37th overall in the competition and paced the rest of the team.
Balla had a time of 31:50.4 for his best-ever performance at nationals. His previous best was a 52nd-place run in 2015. As a result of his placement, Balla was named an All-American, the 13th different Raider to earn the honor.
Balla was followed by Calvin Conrad-Kline, who took 59th with a time of 32:19.1. Conrad-Kline really poured it on in the final stretch of the race, improving 13 spots in the last 1,000 meters to earn his spot in the Top 60.
Dominic Stroh finished third for the Raiders, taking 78th to be the final member of the SU team in the Top 80 with a time of 32:30.5. Stroh imitated Conrad-Kline’s surge in the latter half of the race, moving up 14 spots over the final 1,000 meters.
Rob Moser and Sean Weidner were the final scoring runners for the Raiders, coming in 119th and 126th, respectively. The 2017 Nationals were the seventh time in eight years that the men’s team made an appearance in the competition under head coach Steve Spence and their 20th in school history.
The women also put in a strong performance for SU, finishing 29th as a team. Jackie Kinkead was the leading runner for the Raiders, finishing 119th with a time of 22:42.7. It was the first time in her career that she had finished as SU’s top runner.
Lydia Cagle came in second for the squad, finishing 132nd in 22:51.3. The last five runners for the Raiders finished within 27 places of one another. Bryanna Dissinger came in third for the Raiders (23.23.3), Emily Kachik took fourth (23:35.8), Jenna Robbins followed as the fifth runner (23:41.6), Lizzie Manickas as the sixth (23:49.3) and Natalee Serwatka rounded out the group (23:56.1).
This was the 10th consecutive year in which the women’s team had competed in the NCAA Division II National Championships and its 15th overall.