For the first time in school history, Rocky Mountain College has been selected to compete in the NAIA National Men’s Cross Country Championships.
Rocky is one of 32 teams that will take part in the meet on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Lawrence, Kan.
The Battlin’ Bears finished second in last week’s Frontier Conference meet and moved up to No. 21 in this week’s NAIA national poll. Conference winners earn automatic berths to the national meet, and the next 10 highest-ranked among teams that didn’t win their conference meet earn at-large berths to nationals.
“It’s very exciting and I’m really happy for these kids,” said Rocky coach Alan King, who started the RMC program seven years ago. “To be honest, this isn’t the most talented men’s team I’ve had, but they’re the hardest-working team I’ve had.
“They come to practice every day ready to work hard and to get better, and all that work has paid off for them.”
Competing at nationals for the Rocky men will be Noah Kiprono, a senior from Nairobi, Kenya; Kyle Olson (freshman, Poplar); Shawn Peden (sophomore, Billings West); Fred Petsch (freshman, Billings West); Cory Berry (junior, Kimberly, Idaho); Beau Mulvaney (freshman, Billings West); and Jonathan Barnes (senior, Zilah, Wash.).
The Rocky women finished third in the Frontier meet and did not qualify for nationals as a team, but the Bears’ Ana Richter and Megan Breeding both qualified as individuals.
Richter is a senior from Billings and Breeding is a senior from Kimberly, Idaho.