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2014 Division III Men’s Cross Country

North Central (Illinois) triumphs after last year’s near-miss

All season long, the North Central College men’s cross country team was fueled by a strong sense of determination and the memories of a near-miss at last year’s NCAA Division III Men’s Cross Country Championships. The Cardinals used these factors to fight through early adversity and capture the program’s 16th national title Nov. 22 in Mason, Ohio.

North Central, which saw three of its runners fall in the slippery conditions early in the race, rallied to finish with 130 points to edge runner-up St. Olaf College (143). The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse came in third with 188 points.

After watching three of his runners scrambling from the mud, Cardinals coach Al Carius was proud of the way his team overcame the situation.

“At that point, we could have disintegrated,” said Carius, who is in his 49th season and has led North Central to all 42 NCAA Division III Men’s Cross Country Championships meets. “But they just kept fighting back and that’s a real tribute to this team.”

The Cardinals finished second by two points a year ago to St. Olaf, which was a result they didn’t want to repeat.

“We came in after a rough loss last year, and we definitely wanted to overcome that and win,” said North Central junior Travis Morrison, who finished seventh overall (24:03.4).

Aron Sebhat, who finished 12th overall (24:13.8) and is another junior on the Cardinals cross country team, added:  “We are just bonded by love ... love for each other, love for this program and love for Al. I just think that feeling of love is what takes us through those tough times and gets us these national championships.”


The Results

1st: North Central (IL), 130
2nd:  St. Olaf, 143
3rd:  Wis.-La Crosse, 188

1st: Grant Wintheiser, St. Olaf, 23:44.9
2nd: Colin Cotton, Williams, 23:51.3
3rd: Josh Thorson, Wis.-Eau Claire, 23:57.1

Brian Anderson, St. Thomas (MN)

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