Back-to-back Iowa Conference champions (2012, 2013)
PELLA—The NCAA announced Central College’s A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex will play host to the 2014 Division III Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Central Region Championships Nov. 15.
The 6,000-meter women’s race and 8,000-meter men’s race will be staged at the college’s challenging on-campus course.
Current Dutch athletes were not running the last time the regional meet ventured to Pella, as Central last played host when Ronald Reagan was president of the United States and Survivor’sEye of the Tiger was a Billboard top song. It was Nov. 13, 1982 and the meet was staged at the Pella Golf and Country Club.
“It’s an exciting thing to host the top schools from our region,” coach Joe Dunham said. “It’s exciting to host a large-scale event. It’s great for Central College and will make us more visible on a national level. There are two ways to earn greater recognition: one is to compete well at national events and the other is to host national events. I’m excited we were selected.”
Central holds an impressive track record on its home course. Most recently, the Dutch hosted the 2013 Iowa Conference championships with the men finishing 1-2-3 individually en route to the team title.
The Central Region spans the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
The region is also home to the 2013 men’s national champion—St. Olaf (Minn.)—as well as the Dutch, who finished sixth. Central returns four of its five point scorers from the NCAA regional and national meets, headlined by two-time all-American Eli Horton (junior, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS). Horton placed fourth at the 2013 national meet after taking home the regional individual title.
“Familiarity (on our course) will be an advantage, but it is not a significant advantage,” said Dunham. “Cross country is one of those sports where the runners who train hard will rise to the top regardless of the course. But it’s a tough region, so we will take the slight advantage.
“It will be an exciting day. I can’t wait.”
The other cross country regional host sites are Williamstown, Mass. (Williams), Newville, Pa. (Dickinson), Winneconne, Wis. (Wis.-Oshkosh), Mason, Ohio (Wilmington) and Salem, Ore. (Willamette).
Mason, Ohio also serves as the 2014 national championship host site.
The bid process to host an NCAA championship for the 2014-18 seasons began in July, resulting in 1,984 submitted applications and 523 total sites (294 final, 229 preliminary) awarded in 27 sports spanning all divisions. Sport committee members believed selected host sites would provide the complete championship experience for the respective student-athletes.