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Cross country runners headed to Nationals

By Staff | Nov 4, 2008

Lakers head to South Carolina on Saturday

Members of the Iowa Lakes Community College cross country team will be traveling to Spartanburg, S.C. to compete in the NJCAA Division I National Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Nov. 8.

More than 70 teams from community colleges across the United States will be competing in both men’s and women’s cross country races at the championship meet. Spartanburg Methodist College is the host of the meet.

Nine members of the Iowa Lakes Cross Country program, five women and four men, will be running in the National Junior College Athletic Association, Division I National Championships: Candace Klepper, Olivia Craig, Angela Pearson, Chelsey Gjerde, Holly Countryman, Bart Zimmer, Brandon Minear, Dane Ross and Mitchel Sparks.

The Iowa Lakes Women’s Cross Country Team, plagued by injuries much of the season, will be led by Candace Klepper.

Klepper earned all-region honorable mention with her recent 17th place finish at the regional meet. She hopes to beat her personal best time of 20:57:00 which she ran at the 2007 national meet.

The other members of the women’s team should be recovered and ready to compete at this year’s national meet.

The Iowa Lakes Men’s Cross Country Team, which has shown steady improvement throughout the season, will be led by Zimmer. Improving on his personal best time this season (29:00:00) will be Zimmer’s goal for nationals. Minear, Ross and Sparks could all challenge that time as well.

“This is a great opportunity for our student athletes to see how they compare to all other junior college athletes in the nation,” said Molly Struve, head cross country coach. “We are lucky that we get the chance to run with some of the best athletes in the nation.

“It is a great experience for them as athletes and should be an enjoyable trip for the whole team. It is an exciting way to end the season.”