Redshirt freshman Ross MacDougall delivered one of the Alaska Nanooks men’s cross country programs’ top performances at a NCAA Div. II West Region Championship, leading the Blue and Gold with a 40th-place finish as they finished 16th at the 2012 event on Saturday morning.
The No. 3-ranked Chico State took the West Region crown with 38 points, while No. 7 Alaska Anchorage was runner-up with 46. Western Washington garnered third place with 82 points, while San Francisco State (130) and Humboldt State (140) secured fourth and fifth place finishes, respectively, to advanc to the National meet. The Nanooks combined for 434 points and finished 16 out of 18 teams.
In his West Region debut, MacDougall crossed 40th with a time of 34:04: one of the best races in program history and the highest finish in the last five years. Jani Tulppo took 38th in 32:22.59 at the 2007 NCAA West Region Championship in Boise, Idaho, where the Nanooks were 16th out of 19 teams.
“Obviously the biggest highlight for us today was Ross’ race,” said Associate Head Coach Matt Dunlap. “He ran his own race today; he got engaged early and maintained throughout and was even able to outsprint a couple of guys at the end to take 40th.”
“He knew what he wanted to do and went out strong,” Dunlap said. “It was the best race of his young career and it was awesome that it happened for him today. He’s nothing but excited for next year.”
Junior Tux Seims was the second Nanook to cross, coming in 95th in 35:48.75. Freshmen John Klein (101st, 36:14.33) and Isaac Lammers (110th, 36:29.59) were third and fourth, respectively, and sophomore Kenny Brewer rounded out the top-five and scoring team (117th, 37:45.47).
“It was good to see two of our freshmen (Klein and Lammers) come in as our third and fourth runners today,” Dunlap said. “Even though we didn’t have our best team performance, those were positive results for us to see.”
Alaska’s sixth and seventh runners were juniors Andrew Arnold (123rd, 38:57.77) and Wyatt Mayo (40:31.77).
The Nanooks will travel back to Fairbanks on Sunday, when 13 of the 16 student-athletes will cross over and train for the ski season.