Our very own Cole Nash earned All-American honors after finishing sixth at the NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships on Friday in University Place, Washington. He finished the 10-kilometer course in 29:57.
Dillon Powell from Colorado School of Mines won the race, clocking in at 29:28.
This is the second year in a row that Nash has earned this honor, finishing 27th as a freshman at the 2021 National Championships.
“It went exactly as planned, started out really fast and thought at 1k that this is way too fast and I’m going to die and it turns out I did die, I just died less than everybody else did… It was as close to perfect as it could’ve been without quite getting in that top 5,” Nash said.
UAA junior Michael Zapherson finished 55th with a time of 30:47.
Zapherson said, “I was trying to shoot for an All-American spot, which is top 40. I went out and I put myself in a position where I could hopefully move up to that top 40. I was roughly at 50th or 60th place and then — it was just a tough day. I couldn’t quite get to the top 40 … but I’m not too upset about it.”
Zapherson said he was shocked when he got his spot to go to nationals. In the regional race he got 7th, which put him in the position to potentially go to nationals. However, he said he was in the mindset after their conference meet that he wouldn’t make it.
UAA Cross Country coach Chas Davis said how proud he was of his athletes. He said that Nash is a huge talent; he’s not surprising anyone. He has this target on his back to execute under the pressure, said Davis.
Davis said he was impressed with Zapherson’s ability to stick with the plan. Davis advised him to work his way up from being near 75th, in the middle of the race, and finish near the top 40. It didn’t go quite according to plan, yet there’s no shame in finishing 55th in the national race, said Davis.
In races with this much pressure, runners have to put themselves out there with a more aggressive style of racing that they may not be used to, Davis said. It takes mental strength along with all the physical elements to run in a race like this. Davis said he is proud of how his athletes handled this race.
Colorado School of Mines took first place as a team with a score of 43, ahead of Wingate who placed second with a score of 177. All Colorado School of Mines’ runners earned All-American honors placing in the top 30.
The top results for the individual men 10k race are as follows;
Dillon Powell of Colorado School of Mines with a time of 29:28, Tanner Chada of Grand Valley State with a time of 29:47, Duncan Fuehne of Colorado School of Mines with a time of 29:48, Zach Kreft of Walsh with a time of 29:53, Afewerki Zeru of Colorado Springs with a time of 29:54, and Cole Nash of Alaska Anchorage with a time of 29:57.