Hamline sends three runners to national cross-country championship

Two student athletes earned All-American titles for cross-country at the NCAA National Championship.

Levi Jones, Sports Editor

Hamline’s cross-country team welcomed home two All-American runners on Nov. 23.

This year Hamline sent three runners to the NCAA National Championships in Louisville, Ky. The meet saw 280 runners in both the men’s and women’s event. These three were invited to the meet as part of the 56 individual invites rather than the seven-person school teams which attended from 32 different schools.

Among the winning students Hamline saw two top 40 finishes. Junior Helen Dolan finished 37th with a time of 22:10.8 in the 6k. Dolan was accompanied within the top 40 by senior Fernando Benitez. Benitez took 31st in the meet with his fastest 8k at Hamline clocking in at 24:53.2.

These two finishes earned Hamline two All-American honors. The last time a Piper was awarded All-American was 2011. The Pipers now have a total of 15 All-American runners in the schools history.

The award dates back to 1973 for men and 1981 for women. Back then it was given to the top 25 runners in the country. Since then, as the number of runners has gone up so has the finish required for qualifying. Most recently the award was changed to be given to the top 40 back in 2017.

During the first year of the All-American award Hamline had one runner be honored. David Teague ‘75. Was given the award for a tenth place finish with a time of 25:0.0.

For today’s runners Benitez is a senior and is not expected to return next year, however junior Frank Gustafson, who finished 165 at the meet, is expected to come back for the 20-21 season. Dolan is also a junior and is expected to return next year as the women’s team has no graduating seniors.