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2014 Division II Men’s Cross Country

Adams State secures 11th Division II men’s cross country title

Finishing first or second in every NCAA Division II Men’s Cross Country Championship since 2003, Adams State University has become the team to beat. But when it counted this season, nobody was able to disrupt the Grizzlies’ winning tradition.

Although an established powerhouse over the last decade, the men of Adams State were nearly upset at the South Central region championships two weeks earlier. Only three points separated them from runner-up Colorado School of Mines. Then, the Grizzlies received the second-place ranking in the final U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Association National Coaches’ Poll of the season, falling a mere two points short of Grand Valley State University. It was only the third time in the past 53 editions of the poll that Adams State had not been ranked No. 1.

The Grizzlies were determined to prove they still deserved the top spot. 

“We believe in each other and we’re confident,” said senior Tabor Stevens, the defending national champion who has become one of the program’s most successful runners, having claimed the 11th and third spots at the national level in his first two years in addition to two championship titles. “We’re not scared to race and go to battle. We’re totally not afraid to stick our necks out there.”

On Saturday at the E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Stevens again led the way, defending his title with a winning time of 30:02.00. (The course, typically 10 kilometers for men, was shortened to 9.65 kilometers to avoid a rain-soaked portion.) Then came Kevin Batt, (fourth place), Matthew Daniels (fifth) and Chad Palmer, a walk-on who capped a season of improvements with an 18th-place finish. It produced 69 points to secure Adams’ third straight national cross country crown and 11th overall.

Adams State coach Damon Martin said people tend to think champions “get the best of everything.” After a team does it many times, winning can start to look easy. But, Martin said, it’s not luck that builds a championship team year after year.

“One of the things we preach in our program is that champions aren’t given anything,” Martin said. “They work hard for everything they get.” 

The Results

1. Adams State, 69
2. Grand Valley State, 127
3. Augustana, 136

1. Tabor Stevens, Adams State, 30:02.0
2. Aaron Dinzeo, California U., 30:19.3
3. Mike Biwott, American International, 30:26.5

Billy Brockmueller, Sioux Falls

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