Estrada Leads Cross Country to 14th at NCAAs with All-American Effort
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Diego Estrada earned All-American honors for the second year in a row at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, placing seventh overall in an unusually fast race at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute on Monday.
Estrada, who led for the first 3,000 meters of the championship event, finished the race in 29:24.7, over a minute faster than his time at the NCAA Mountain Regionals a week ago and 16 seconds ahead of Mountain Region champion Miles Batty of BYU.
Estrada's All-America award is the 11th such honor in five years for NAU cross country runners under Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Eric Heins.
The Lumberjack men finished in 14th place as a team, breaking a string of four consecutive top-10 finishes at the national meet. However, NAU men's cross country has now finished in the top-15 18 times since 1984.
The team looked solid through the 8K mark, but during the last two kilometers the Lumberjacks dropped six spots in the team standings.
"A few of our guys were looking good through 8K, but then we unfortunately went backwards," said Heins. "It was tough to watch the last 2K, because we were in such perfect position through 8,000 meters."
Finishing behind Estrada was fellow senior Jordan Chipangama in 48th place (30:21.0). Junior Tim Freriks, running in his third consecutive national meet, took 94th overall and finished in 30:45.7. The final two scoring runners for the Lumberjacks were senior Matt Coloe in 155th (31:14.3) and true freshman Caleb Hoover in 177th (31:30.1).
Wisconsin took the team title for the first time since 2005, and Arizona's Lawi Lalang won the individual crown.
Estrada, a three-time All-American in track and field, looks forward to the distance events in indoor track and field season, slated to begin for NAU on Jan. 14 in Flagstaff, Ariz.
"We'll be facing a lot of these guys again in indoor season," said Estrada. "We're looking forward to taking them on again in January."