Freed leads Rio trio at NAIA Championship

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Junior Blake Freed gave the University of Rio Grande its best finish among the three runners representing the RedStorm in Saturday’s NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championship at McAlpine Creek Park.

Freed, a native of Uhrichsville, Ohio, finished 77th in the 326-runner field by finishing the 8K course in 26:02.2.

Freed, who finished second in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship meet, had the best finish of any runner representing a KIAC school in the race. KIAC champion Brian Moore of Point Park had the league’s second-best finish, placing 113th in 26:21.

Freed finished 2:07 behind individual champion Geoffrey Kipchumba of William Carey.

Rio Grande’s other two participants – junior Dallas Guy (Buffalo, OH) and Mike Norris (Dayton, OH) – finished 173rd and 178th, respectively, with times of 26:45 and 26:47.

Oklahoma City won the team championship with 78 points, easily outdistancing the 168 points of runner-up St. Mary (Kan.). Indiana Wesleyan (178), St. Francis, Ill. (201) and British Columbia (219) rounded out the top five.

KIAC champion Point Park finished 35th in the 36-team field.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing