Moffat County, Hayden runner Chris Zirkle named all-American | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County, Hayden runner Chris Zirkle named all-American

Craig Daily Press Staff Report

Chris Zirkle, originally from Hayden, runs during a regional event as part of the Northwest Christian University cross country team. Zirkle, who ran cross country for Moffat County High School and track for Hayden High School, recently placed 19th in the country at the NAIA National Championship race in November, earning all-American honors.

Chris Zirkle, a Hayden High School graduate, was at his very best in his very last high school event four years ago, winning two state championships at the state track meet. On Nov. 22, at his last collegiate track meet, he again was at his best.

Zirkle flew to 19th place in the NAIA National Championship cross country race Nov. 22 at Rim Rock Farm outside Lawrence, Kansas.

He started fast and was second early, dropped way back in the pack on the hilly course, then rebounded with a kick to remember, flying back into the top 20.

The results earned him all-American honors on behalf of Northwest Christian University.

His time was 25 minutes, 28 seconds on the 8-kilometer course, and it was the best result a NCU men's cross country runner ever has recorded at the national championships.

Zirkle closed his season with a flourish, Saturday's result coming after he shattered the school record at the conference championships earlier in the month, recording a career-best time of 25:02.

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Zirkle graduated high school in 2011 after competing for both the Hayden track team and the Moffat County High School cross country team. In his senior year, he placed third at the Colorado State Class 4A Cross Country Championships on behalf of MCHS and later won state titles in both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter events for Hayden.