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Adams State tops rivals for national championship

2015 Division II Women’s Cross Country

Mary’s Alexis Zeis and Grand Valley State’s Kendra Foley battle to the finish. Zeis took the national title by less than a second. SHANE BEVEL / NCAA PHOTOS

The Results

TEAM SCORES

1st: Adams St., 83

2nd: Grand Valley, 97

3rd: Hillsdale College, 140

INDIVIDUAL SCORES

1st: Alexis Zeis, University of Mary (N.D.), 20:03.4

2nd: Kendra Foley, Grand Valley St., 20:03.7

3rd: Amanda Farrough, Lewis, 20:06.03

ELITE 90 HONOREE

Ewa Zaborowska, Harding

In the preseason, Adams State University boasted the No. 1-ranked men’s cross country team in the nation. But it was the women’s team that brought home the national championship for the Grizzlies at the Nov. 21 Division II Cross Country Championships in Joplin, Missouri.

The women’s team scored 83 points and edged out defending champions and perennial rivals Grand Valley State University. While freshman Noel Prandoni came in 10th at 20:21.5 in the 6-kilometer race to lead the Grizzlies to their first championship since 2009, the perseverance of the team’s only senior was the success story of the season.

When Kelsey Corbin arrived as a freshman five years ago, she was ready to show the team what she could do. “Everybody kind of wants to be good from the very beginning,” she said, “but it doesn’t quite work like that.”

She redshirted as a freshman. The following year, she experienced shin splints. At the beginning of the 2014-15 season, she and her coach made some adjustments that helped her stay healthy throughout the season, but on the day the team was traveling to the conference meet, she slipped on ice, broke her elbow and ended up in a cast for several weeks.

This 2015 national championship meet, then, was Corbin’s first. “It was a little overwhelming,” she said. “I kind of had to remember to breathe, just because part of me didn’t think I was ever going to make it to that point. Then we’re all lining up, and I’m like, ‘It’s just a race.’”

She didn’t just start; she finished – in 33rd place with a time of 21:16.7. Her teammates Jenna Thurman (11th, 20:48.4), Maura O’Brien (14th, 20:56.5) and Grace Tinkey (21st, 21:03.1) also earned points.