Lady Tiger cross country team caps dream season
Ten years removed from its previous national championship, the Cowley College women’s cross country team brought the title back to Arkansas City by placing first at the NJCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships held Saturday in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
“Many people dream of winning a national championship, very few have the opportunity to even try, so this is a great day for Cowley,” Cowley College athletic director Shane Larson said.
The Lady Tigers were led by their incredible sophomore Lubna Suied, who finished as the program’s firstever individual national champion. The win capped an amazing season for Suied as she placed first in five of six races on the season.
“Her overall dedication and commitment to the program made her accomplishments seem like not really much of a surprise to me,” Cowley head coach Cameron Rieth said. “She ran a really smart, tactical race. She runs with her heart and had a tremendous season.”
Suied’s first-place finish was one of three top 15 finishes for the Lady Tigers. Sophomore Zinara Lesley (19:41.99, sixth place) garnered Second-Team All-American honors, freshman Karissa Glover (19:56.02, 11th place) was an Honorable Mention All-American, and Megan Reynolds (20:26.30, 24th place) earned Coaches Association All-American honors.
“They were all willing to step up to the challenge and were major contributors to what we were able to accomplish,” Rieth said.
Cowley posted a score of 68, just three points better than second place Heartland Community College out of Illinois.
“I am so proud of this team, I can’t say enough about what they accomplished,” Rieth said. “It is a dang good day to be a Tiger!”
Other Cowley runners that helped bring home the national title were, Sierra Saenz (21:06.39, 43rd place), Paula Viciano-Cansino (21:36.98, 55th place, and Karstyn Nolan (23:57.89, 101st place).
With Covid-19 making for a strange cross country season, Rieth was proud of the way his team stood up to the challenge.
“We did not know if we would be able to get through the season with everything going on outside the program, so it was just a blessing to be able to compete,” Rieth said.
Cowley, 68; (2) Heartland, 71; (3) Hawkeye, 103; (4) Grand Rapids, 125; (5) St. Clair County, 178; (6) Wallace State, 184; (7) Pasco-Hernando State College, 199; (8) Daytona State College, 206; (9) Kaskaskia College, 225; (10) North Iowa Area College, 276; (11) UA Rich Mountain, 281; (12) Muskegon, 301; (13) Lake County, 312; (14) Marion Military Institute, 365; (15) Mott, 386; (16) South Florida State College, 391.