The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced that the Cascade Collegiate Conference and Concordia University have been awarded the 2009 and 2010 Men’s and Women’s Cross Country National Championships. The 54th annual men’s and 30th annual women’s national championship events will take place on November 21, 2009, at the Fort Vancouver Historical Site, in Vancouver, Washington. The following year the event will be contested on November 20, 2010.
“The Pacific Northwest has deep roots in the sport of running and I know the championships will garner strong support and interest from the local community. The ability to bring the men’s and women’s championships to the mecca of a running world will create an exceptional experience for the student-athletes, coaches and fans,” said Ruth Stein, NAIA Manager of Championship Sports, Cross Country. “I look forward to working with representatives from the Cascade Collegiate Conference and Concordia University to create an event that continues to gain momentum and exposure for NAIA cross country programs.”
More than 750 student-athletes from the United States and Canada will travel to Vancouver for a chance to compete for NAIA team and individual titles. Fort Vancouver Historical Site, located near Portland, Oregon, is a unique, historic and challenging competition venue that boasts a successful record for hosting world class cross country championship events, including USA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country National Championships and World Cross Country Trials.
“Bringing the NAIA Cross Country Championships to this area is a natural, and we are honored and excited to have been awarded this event for the next two years. This is a special opportunity to add to the outstanding running tradition this region is known for and to showcase the sport of collegiate cross country in a national championship setting,” said Dave Haglund, Commissioner, Cascade Collegiate Conference. “We are especially grateful for all the organizational support we have received in this effort to date, particularly from the Oregon Sports Authority, USA Track and Field of Oregon, Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve, Travel Portland and the Southwest Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau.”
Matt English, athletics director at Concordia University added, “We are excited to co-host such a high level national event. It will bring great exposure for Concordia, but will also benefit the local communities, especially through the NAIA Champions of Character program.”
“We are excited to welcome hundreds of inspirational student-athletes from around the nation as they come to the Northwest for the 2009 and 2010 NAIA Cross Country Championships at historic Fort Vancouver,” commented Drew Mahalic, CEO of the Oregon Sports Authority.
Following completion of the regular season, the top 32 men’s and 32 women’s teams plus individual qualifiers will compete in an 8,000 meter race (men) and 5,000 meter race (women). This is the first time for student-athletes to compete in the state of Washington under the national championship umbrella.
Tournament qualifiers and event details will be available in November 2009. Fans can follow all the action via the NAIA’s Internet site, www.NAIA.org.