RIO GRANDE, Ohio – University of Rio Grande junior Cody Booth posted a runner-up finish and earned the opportunity to race for a national championship in the men’s division of the River States Conference Cross Country Championship, which took place Saturday afternoon at the Rio Grande Cross Country Course.
Booth, who hails from New Philadelphia, Ohio, completed the 8k course in a time of 27:03 – 40 seconds behind West Virginia University Tech’s Michael Ecker-Randolph and 21 seconds ahead of Drake Dickerson from Ohio Christian University.
Booth’s finish, as the first of six runners who weren’t members of the two qualifying teams, punched his ticket to the NAIA National Championship, which has been rescheduled for April 9 in Grand Rapids, Iowa.
Ecker-Randolph, who was named the RSC’s Runner of the Year based on his individual title, led WVU Tech to the team title. The Golden Bears had three of the top eight finishers and tallied 57 points.
Point Park University had a pair of Top 10 finishers and finished second with 81 points. The Pioneers joined WVU Tech as the league’s automatic qualifiers to the national meet.
Indiana University Kokomo rounded out the top three in the team competition with 102 points.
Rio Grande, which also got a 12th place finish from sophomore Austin Setty (Fairfield, OH), finished fifth among the 12 competing schools with 120 points. Setty posted a time of 28:36.
Also representing the RedStorm in the 86-runner field was sophomore Keelan Kilgour (Jackson, OH), who finished 30th in a time of 30:04; senior Dean Freitag (Magnolia, OH), who took 36th place after crossing the line in 30:45; freshman Lucas Chess (Urbana, OH), who was 40th in a time of 31:04; senior Keshawn Jones (Mansfield, OH), who was 53rd with a finish of 32:19; freshman Kyle Lightner (Peebles, OH), who placed 55th in a time of 32:35; freshman Antoine Sullivan (Shaker Heights, OH), who finished 58th with a time of 32:56; and senior Ethan Greenawalt (Orlando, FL), who placed 66th with a time of 33:55.
The top seven finishers were named first team All-RSC, while finishers 8-14 were named to the all-conference second team.
Booth also earned RSC Newcomer of the Year honors, while WVU Tech’s Jeremy Bloom was named the league’s Coach of the Year.
Freitag represented Rio Grande on the conference’s Champions of Character Team.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.