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Colorado Mines finally reaches the finish line

2015 Division II Men’s Cross Country

Shorter’s Alfred Chelanga crossed the finish line nine seconds ahead of his closest competitor. SHANE BEVEL / NCAA PHOTOS

The Results

TEAM RESULTS

1st: Colorado Mines, 100

2nd: Adams State, 127

3rd: Alaska Anchorage, 138

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS

1st: Alfred Chelanga, Shorter, 29:24.6

2nd: Vincent Kiprop, Missouri Southern, 29:33.7

3rd: Henry Cheseto, Alaska Anchorage, 29.35.6

ELITE 90 HONOREE

Alex Hampel, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

The Colorado School of Mines men’s cross country season ended with two pinnacle moments: The Orediggers brought home the first national championship in the school’s 127-year athletics history; meanwhile, their coach, Chris Siemers, was named U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division II National Coach of the Year.

But when Siemers looks back on the season, he is grateful for some of the disappointments that preceded the team’s victory Nov. 21 at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships in Joplin, Missouri.

Without those heartbreaks, Siemers said, the season might have ended differently.

“When we started practice the week before school started, we talked about goals,” he said. “We said we want to make history and be the first team to win a national championship, and it’s going to take an extraordinary effort. The team just stepped up all season. Everything fell into place.”

At the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship in October, Colorado School of Mines had hoped to topple conference rival Adams State University, which was not only the defending national champion but had also won six of the past seven Division II titles. Instead, the team struggled and came in second at the conference championship and again at NCAA regionals.

By comparison, Siemers said, the national championship “just happened to be our day.”