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NIACC cross country crowns champion at national meet

It was quite the weekend for head coach Curtis Vais and the NIACC men's and women's cross country teams.

The Trojans took part in the NJCAA Division II national cross country meet in in Mechanicsville, Virginia, on Saturday.

Sophomore Sarah Bertry did something no woman has ever done before in the history of the program.

Sarah Bertry

Sarah Bertry runs for NIACC in a race earlier this season.

She led the race from start to finish, winning NIACC's first individual national title by 16 seconds. She ran a time of 18 minutes, 21 seconds on the 5-kilometer course at Pole Green Park.

The women's team placed 16th in the team standings with 412 points. Lilly Stockberger (81st, 21:30), Brianna Ross (103rd, 21:56), Madisyn Heller (151st, 23:28) and Mercy Melly (163rd, 24:01) rounded out the Trojan lineup.

On the boys side, the team scored 321 points, which was good for a 10th place finish overall. The squad took the title last year in Fort Dodge.

After winning the individual national title in 2020, sophomore Melvin Kipkemboi followed it up with a third place finish this year. He finished the 8-kilometer race in 25:04, which was 12 seconds behind the first place finisher, Cowley County's Adrian Lopez.

NIACC's next-best finisher was Peyton Seiler, who placed 51st in a time of 27:51. Christian Rodriguez (78th, 28:23), Richard Marcoux (99th, 28:55), Bryden Juelsgaard (103rd, 29:00), Caleb Sledd (146th, 30:04) and Maxwell Deeter (213th, 34:38).

Gunnar Davis covers sports. Reach him via email at or by phone 641-421-0598.


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