#22 Aquinas Men Place 15th at NAIA National Championships
Provided by Aquinas
The Aquinas men's cross country team entered Saturday's (Nov. 18) NAIA National Championships in Vancouver, Wash. ranked #22 in the country, but the Saints improved on that top-25 ranking by finishing 15th overall in the 36-team field. Arik LaFave (SO/Hesperia, Mich.) led the way for Aquinas with a 37th place showing, as the Saints scored 431 points in Saturday's 8K race at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
AQ was the second-highest finishing WHAC school, as Indiana Tech placed 12th overall in the team competition. #1 British Columbia proved its national ranking, winning the team title with only 41 points. #7 Columbia (Mo.) was the runner-up with 168 points, while #6 Oklahoma City (179), defending champion #2 Southern Oregon (193), and #3 Lewis-Clark State (200) rounding out the top-five schools.
LaFave earned a top-30 finish with a great time of 25:32 to lead the Saints. Gannon Foley (FR/Portage, Mich.) finished in 106th place at 26:17, while Grayson Harding (SO/Grand Rapids, Mich.) was not far behind at 26:21 to finish 114th individually.
Adam Gizowski (JR/St. Clair, Mich.) posted a 145th place showing at 26:36 and Joey Ciaravino (JR/Harper Woods, Mich.) crossed the line in 26:42 for 160th place. Angelo Leon (SO/Grand Rapids, Mich.) was 215th in a time of 27:10, while Luke Simonds (JR/Grand Rapids, Mich.) placed 229th in 27:16. There were 328 scored runners in Saturday's competition.
This is the 18th consecutive NAIA National Championship appearance for the Aquinas men and 24 all-time appearance in the program's history. In the last three years, the Saints have placed 13th (2015) and 22nd (2016) and 15th (2017).
Coupled with the Aquinas women's fourth-place tally, the Saints men's and women's programs combined for a fourth-place finish with 612 total points (431 for the men, 181 for the women). That is the highest combined finish for the Aquinas cross country teams at the NAIA National Championships.