BECKLEY, W.Va. – The University of Rio Grande captured the men’s team championship at the 2016 River States Conference Cross Country Championship, which was hosted by West Virginia University-Tech on Saturday afternoon at The Summit Bechtel Reserve.
As a result of the win, the RedStorm earned a trip to the NAIA Cross Country National Championship on Saturday, Nov. 19 in Elshah, Ill.
Head coach Bob Willey’s squad had six of the top nine – and each of the first three – finishers in the race. The top three finishers were separated by just two seconds.
Senior Dallas Guy (Buffalo, OH) took top honors with a finish of 26:47, just ahead of senior Blake Freed (Uhrichsville, OH) and sophomore Kameron Carpenter (Newark, OH). Freed crossed in 26:48 and Carpenter in 26:49.
Senior Kyle Sanborn (Dover, OH) was fifth after crossing in 27:10, senior Dustin Moritz (Ironton, OH) placed seventh in 27:36 and sophomore Mike Norris (Dayton, OH) ended up ninth in 27:57.
Freshman River Spicer (West Milton, OH) completed Rio’s lineup by finishing 20th in 28:55.
Other individual national qualifiers included Douglas Negrete (WVU Tech), Salvador Campos (IU East), Caleb Woodard (Asbury) and Blake Brooks (IU East).
The top 14 finishers were declared All-River States Conference, with the first seven finishers named to the First Team and the next seven finishers to the Second Team.
The conference also named a Champions of Character Team, with one individual from each team chosen as the one who best exhibits the five core character values of the NAIA’s Champions of Character program of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
Rio Grande’s honoree was Spicer.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.