The Gorillas captured the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association championship with a dominating performance on Nov. 6 at Hays, Kan. Pitt State followed that effort up two weeks later by capturing the NCAA Division II South Central Region crown at Warrensburg, Mo.
The Gorillas’ regional title earned the squad a berth in the 24-team NCAA Division II National Championships field–the team’s third appearance in the national field in five years.
At the national meet, held Dec. 4 at Louisville, Ky., Pitt State closed out the season in style with a 12th place finish. It marked the Gorillas best national finish since the 2000 squad placed 12th overall.
Six Pitt State runners earned All-MIAA honors with their performances at the conference meet. Seniors Brittney Graff (5th), Caitlin Laskowski (6th) and Jennifer Butler (10th) and sophomore Melissa Peden (9th) earned All-MIAA accolades with top 10 individual finishes in the six-kilometer race. Sophomore Kaley Temaat (14th) and senior Jenna Mellen (15th) also garnered honorable mention All-MIAA honors for placing among the second 10 individuals.
Butler, from Bennington, Kan., led the squad with a third-place individual finish at the South Central Regional, while Peden, an Overland Park, Kan., native, led the Gorillas by placing 52nd overall in the national field.
The Pitt State men’s cross country team enjoyed a promising 2010 campaign before the Gorillas were beset with injuries down the stretch.
The short-handed Gorillas placed fifth among eight teams at the MIAA Championships. Sophomore Adam Volkert (5th) and junior Matt Haffner (8th) secured All-MIAA honors with top 10 efforts in the eight-kilometer race.
Pitt State finished ninth as a team at the South Central Regional, but Volkert’s fourth-place individual finish earned him an individual berth to nationals.
The Lee’s Summit, Mo., native enjoyed a solid nationals performance, placing 56th overall in the talented field.
Pitt State head coach Russ Jewett was voted the MIAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year by his conference coaching peers. It marked the fifth time in his decorated career that Jewett earned Coach of the Year honors from the MIAA for women’s cross country.