Hundreds of the nation’s top small-college cross country runners are coming to Vancouver this week.
The 40th annual NAIA Cross Country Championships will take place on Friday at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Thirty-seven teams and more than 80 individual qualifiers will compete in each of the men’s and women’s races. The men will race at 10:30 a.m. followed by the women at 11:30 a.m.
Amelia Pullen, who won the Class 2A state championship for Washougal last year, is looking to cap a stellar freshman season for Warner Pacific on Friday.
Pullen was recently named the NAIA West Region Athlete of the Year. She won the Cascade Collegiate Conference individual title on Nov. 8, covering the 5,000 meter course in Cottage Grove, Ore., in 17 minutes, 35 seconds. That set a school record for Warner Pacific, a school of about 1,300 students in Portland.
In the women’s national rankings, Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta enters Friday’s race as the No. 1 team in the season’s final NAIA coaches poll. Among Northwest schools, College of Idaho is No. 6 and Southern Oregon is No. 9.
In the men’s race, Oklahoma City enters Friday’s race as the unanimous No. 1 team in the season’s final rankings. Among Northwest schools, College of Idaho is No. 2, Southern Oregon is No. 5 and Lewis-Clark State is No. 7.
Friday marks the sixth time the NAIA Cross Country Championships have been held at Fort Vancouver. It was held here from 2009-12 and again in 2017.
Admission is free.