SAINT LEO, FLA. – Western Washington University junior Isaac Derline placed 102nd competing as an individual at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships on Saturday morning, hosted by Saint Leo University at The Abbey Course.
Derline (Kent, WA/Kentridge) crossed the finish line with a time of 32:17.7 on Saturday at the 10,000-meter course. He was among the top 50 early in the competition, listed in 41st place at the 1.3K mark before falling to 128th at the 5K mark. He improved 26 places over the latter half of the race to place 102nd among 242 total finishers.
“I’m very proud of him as an individual and how he’s turned around,” head coach Pee Wee Halsell said of Derline’s season. “He’s been there, he’s been a team player. He’s been there doing what he needs to do to be successful, but that’s for the team…He fought back at the end of the race because of that inner drive to be the best he can, even though he knew it wasn’t going to be his best race. He still fought back, and that says a lot about him.”
Adams State took home the team national championship while Vincent Kiprop of Missouri Southern was the individual national champion with a time of 29:07.4. GNAC member school Alaska Anchorage placed 5th as a team.
Derline had advanced to the national meet after placing 5th at the NCAA West Region Championships on Nov. 5 in Billings, Mont., and qualifying as a top-3 individual finisher not associated with a team advancing to the national championships.
The WWU men missed qualifying for the national meet as a team after placing 7th at the NCAA West Region Championships, two spots back of the necessary top-5 team finish needed to qualify for the national championships. The WWU women were 8th at the NCAA West Region Championships, also two spots back of a top-6 finish needed to qualify for the national championships. Each WWU team has advanced to the national championships as a team in 7 of the last 9 seasons.
Excluding the national championships, Derline finished no lower than 6th at any race throughout the season. He was an All-GNAC performer with a 3rd-place finish on Oct. 22 at the GNAC Championships and a U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-West Region honoree with his 5th-place finish at the NCAA West Region Championships.
Saturday’s race on the national stage was the second national championships race for Derline, who placed 104th at the 2014 NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky, helping the WWU men to a 13th place team finish.
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