November 9, 2013

Men’s cross country advances to NCAA Division II Championship

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The King University men's cross country team finished second in the NCAA Southeast Regional meet on Saturday, advancing to the NCAA Division II Championship for the second consecutive season.

King, the third-ranked team in the Southeast Region, narrowly edged second-ranked Georgia Regents University Augusta by two points for the second spot in the meet. The top three teams all advance to the Division II Championship on November 23 in Spokane, Wash. Conference Carolinas champions Mount Olive won the event with a total score of 53, placing all five scorers in the top 22 positions.

The Tornado continued this season's trend of running well in a pack, reducing the spread between the first- and fifth-place runners and scoring its points in a tight bunch. Spencer Frantom, King's top finisher, and fifth finisher Dickson Kurgat were separated by just 39.5 seconds and 13 point-scoring positions.

Tornado runners made their large jump in the middle third of the race, with the team moving into second place from a tie for third and King's top five runners gaining a total of 41 positions on the course, 31 of which came from sophomore Brent Swiney and freshman Tanner Cook.

Frantom, a senior, paced King as he has all season, finishing the race in 32:10.8. Swiney finished in 16th position, just one spot and 2.3 seconds behind Frantom. Cook finished in 20th position, while juniors Jordan Noe and Kurgat finished 23rd and 29th.

Frantom, Swiney, Cook, and Noe were named to the All-Southeast Region team as top 25 finishers. King's quartet of All-Region performers was second only to Mount Olive, who placed five runners on the All-Region team.

The second-place finish is the highest at an NCAA Region Championship in program history, an accomplishment that head coach Peter Dalton says demonstrates the program's advancement. "We finished 27th at nationals last season. Our goal is to finish in the top 20 this year. It's a great accomplishment to qualify for a national championship. I'm very impressed with our guys, and they deserve the opportunity to compete in this meet because of how hard they've worked."