Hagerstown, MD – Garrett College's resurrected men's cross country program continued its highly success reboot on Saturday, qualifying for the NJCAA Division III national meet.
The Lakers, with Christian Jordan and Zach Warnick both cracking the Top 10, finished second to Howard Community College in the Division III Region XX race. The top two teams qualified for this Saturday's national championships in Westfield, Mass.
Jordan finished eighth overall in 30:56 and Warnick was 10th in 31:42 in the 8-kilometer race. Both Laker standouts ran for Southern Garrett High before coming to GC.
"It's a great feeling for these kids to have the opportunity to go to nationals," said GC head coach Jeff Hoffman, whose squad won the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference (WPCC) title earlier this month. "Earning the honor of representing the college at nationals is a testament to all the hard work that they put in this season."
GC's Megan Kozi finished sixth overall in the women's 6-kilometer race (24:42) while teammate Jess Bow was 13th (27:57).
Hoffman credited assistant coaches Phil Warnick and Dale Luy for their work in helping to mold a championship-caliber team.
"Coach Warnick and Coach Luy really helped these kids get themselves ready for the end of the season," said Hoffman, noting the team peaked at just the right time.
Host Hagerstown Community College won the NJCAA Division I Region XX championship, which ran concurrently with the Division III Region XX and Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference championship races. Hagerstown's Henry Schmidt took first overall in the men's race with a course-race 27:13.8 as the Hawks edged Howard, 47-48, for the Maryland JuCo crown.
Khelsa Connolly of the host Hawks used a late kick to win the women's individual title in 21:15.3 as Hagerstown also won the women's state and Division I region crowns. Gabrielle Turner of CCBC-Essex (21:24.2) – whose Knights won the Division II region title – and Northern Virginia's Tyler Means (21:24.9) were second and third, respectively.