-By Nick Bowsher
Montana Tech cross country runners are traveling to Tallahassee, Florida to run in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women’s and Men’s National Championship. The Oredigger teams did not receive an at-large bid this season, but four Orediggers will be running as individuals at the meet. The races are on Friday November 18th.
The top five finishers in the Frontier Conference Championship meet qualify as individuals for the national championship meet.
The women’s race features 36 teams and 90 individuals at the 43rd NAIA Women’s National Championship.
The Tech women reached the national championship last season as an at-large for the first team appearance in school history and just the second year as a program. The Orediggers finished in 11th last season at the national championship last year.
Sophomore’s Hailey Nielson and Carlin Manning finished second and fifth at the Frontier Conference Championship in Helena earning their way to Tallahassee. Nielson finished in 55th place last year and Manning took 169th.
Nielson and Manning will be running along two Frontier schools. Carroll College won the conference title this year and Rocky Mountain received an at-large bid.
The men’s race has 78 individuals running along with the 36 teams that qualified for the 67th NAIA Men’s National Championship.
Two Oredigger men also reached the national championship meet. The men’s team as not qualified for the final meet of the season. Edwin Kipainoi, a junior transfer from Cloud County Community College, finished third at the Frontier championship in his
first season with the Orediggers. Sophomore Justin Morgan finished fourth at the conference championship meet. This is both of their first appearances at the national championship.