WWU's Dak Riek places 37th at NCAA II Nationals to earn All-America honors
Nov. 17, 2012
JOPLIN, Missouri - Western Washington University's Dak Riek (Jr., Everett/Mariner) placed 37th to earn All-America honors at the NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championships held Saturday at the Missouri Southern University campus course.
The Vikings, who were making their sixth straight trip to nationals, finished a disappointing 21st in the 32-team men's field. They entered the meet ranked 10th in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches/NCAA II Top 25 poll.
The placing snapped a string of four WWU top 10 finishes and was its lowest of the six-year national run. The Vikings were 10th in 2011, ninth in 2010, fourth in 2009, 10th in 2008 and 11th in 2007.
Riek, who placed 50th at nationals last year, completed the 10-kilometer course in 30:20.9.
"He was running with a bad Achilles, but he ran like a warrior," said WWU coach Pee Wee Halsell (26th year) of Riek. "He was probably around 100th after the first mile, but he moved up from there. He really wanted to be among the top 40 and be an All-American and he did it."
"Besides Dak, there were just a few glimmers in there for us. We went out and didn't move up and no one came back to us. It was not what we wanted, but we'll be back next year."
Tyler Cannon (Sr., Kennewick/Kamiakin) placed 126th (31:46.8) for the Vikings. Tanner Boyd (Jr., Camas) was 143rd (31:57.1), Chip Jackson (Jr., Shoreline/Shorewood) 155th (32:05.2), Kyle Johnson (Sr., Nine Mile Falls/Lakeside) 166th (32:15.1), Tabor Reedy (So., Poulsbo/North Kitsap) 186th (32:35.8) and Dylan Peterson (Sr., Seattle/Garfield) 196th.
Johnson was competing at nationals for the third time and Reedy for the first, with all the other WWU runners making their second appearance.
Adams State won the men's title for the fourth time in five years. West Region runner-up Alaska Anchorage was third and champion Chico State fifth. Taking the individual championship by 14 seconds was UAA's Micah Chelimo in 28:56.6.
WWU qualified for nationals by finishing third (top five teams qualified) at the West Regional. Four Vikings earned all-region honors by placing among the top 25.
Leading that group was Riek, who placed fifth to become a region all-star for the second straight year. Cannon was 15th, Jackson 16th; and Peterson 24th.
Riek, Jackson and Johnson all were Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-stars, finishing third, fourth and 10th, respectively, at the league championships.
Grand Valley State won the women's national championship and UAA's Susan Tanui was second individually. West Region champion Chico State placed fifth and runner-up Alaska Anchorage sixth.
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