Fort Dodge, IA – Sophomore Evan Franklin narrowly missed the school-record in-route to earning All-American honors by finishing 6th overall in a time of 25 minutes and 11 seconds, and led the team to a 9th place finish at the NJCAA Cross Country National Championships, the best team finish in nearly 50 years.
The teams filed out to toe the line on a cold, blustery day in Fort Dodge, Iowa to compete for the NJCAA Cross Country National Championships. The teams were called to a set position, the clock struck eleven a.m. central standard time, and the starting cannon was fired! They were off!
All-American Evan Franklin quickly positioned himself in the top-20 as the runners flocked through the first kilometer of the 8-kilometer race. He was followed closely by his teammates: Marcus Graham, Hunter Ingle, Atlantis Green, Seth Vaquero, Michael DeMeyer, and Jacob Adams.
Franklin periodically moved his way through the pack of runners, eventually moving into the top-8 runners in the race with one mile left to run.
Franklin managed to squeeze down the last mile, and was rewarded with a 6th place finish, and earned All-American honors. Franklin’s 6th place finish is the best place-finish ever by a Vincennes University athlete at the NJCAA Cross Country National Championships, and his time of 25:11 is the fastest time ever run by a Trailblazer at the national meet. However, Franklin’s time fell 1 second short of the overall Vincennes University school record.
Franklin said after the race, “I was really pumped. After I finished, I knew I should have started moving earlier, because I really wanted to break Robert’s school-record, but I am really happy with it. Today was the best I have ever felt in a race, and I was really thankful for the opportunity to represent the university, the coaching staff, my teammates, and the program like this today. It was awesome.”
Franklin wasn’t the only Vincennes University athlete with a big day, however. Freshman Marcus Graham battled through sickness and injury to finish 43rd overall, narrowly missing All-American honors. freshman Atlantis Green and Hunter Ingle both finished in the top-100 with 83rd & 84th place finishes. While freshman Michael DeMeyer rounded-out the top-5 for Vincennes University with a 97th place finish.
Coach Albrecht said after the race, “It wasn’t what we wanted, but it is still the best we have finished at the National Meet in nearly 50 years. Top-10 in the country isn’t a bad day by any means, and I could tell that we raced as hard as we could. As a coach, that’s all I can ask for. I was really, really happy for Evan. He has worked super hard during his time at Vincennes, he has overcome injury, he has overcome adversity, and there wasn’t a more deserving person out there today than him. He represented the university in a great way, and will do incredible things in the future.”
The Trailblazers will return to action this Saturday in Topeka, Kansas as they lace up for the NJCAA Half-Marathon Championships! Race-time is set for 9 a.m. cst! Go Vincennes!