MCHS alumni bring home team titles

Moffat County High School alumni Kelly Christensen and Emily Mortensen finished up their college careers in cross country with team trophies in their hands.

Christensen's second-place finish at the national meet in Chino, Calif., helped the Western State mens cross country team claim its second straight NCAA Division II National Championship.

Christensen finished the race in 31:10.40, behind two-time national champion Nicodemus Naimadu (30:13.8) of Abilene Christian. Christensen, a two-time North Central Regional Cham--pion, finished third at last year's national championships.

The Western State men easily defeated archrival Adams State, 51-108, to take the title. Western State beat the Grizzlies for the first time in five tries this season.

The national crown is the seventh for the Western State men, adding another one to its Division II record. Those seven titles have come in 11 years.

The Western State men also won NCAA Division II titles in 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.

The race was Christensen's last as a Mountaineer. He was an All-American three years in cross country and was the national champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2004.

Mortensen was a part of the Adams State College Grizzlies team that won its third straight NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championship. The win set a Division II record for the most team titles with 11.The Grizzlies had five finishers in the top 21 and posted a 54-69 win against Grand Valley State (Mich.) and the rest of the 24-team field.

Rival Western State was third with 154 points.

Mortensen earned her fourth All-American honor in cross country with a 30th-place finish. She was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's 2005 Runner of the Year after her victory in the conference meet a month earlier.

The win capped a second undefeated season for coach Damon Martin's Grizzlies, who have won 14 overall national champions, including three at the NAIA level.

The Grizzlies top finishers were senior Victoria Martinez (Las Vegas, N.M.) and Michelle Icban (Cypress, Calif.), who finished third and sixth, respectively. Mortensen was the Grizzly's sixth finisher.

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