No. 9 Mountain Lions Take on Nation's Best Teams Saturday Morning in Joplin

By Jared Verner published November 16, 2012

JOPLIN, Mo. - The ninth-ranked University of Colorado Colorado Springs men's cross country will look for its first top 10 finish in program history on Saturday when the Mountain Lions take on the nation's top teams during the 2012 NCAA Division II Men's Cross Country National Championships. Action begins at 9:30 a.m. MST at the Missouri Southern State University Cross Country Course in Joplin, Mo.

The NCAA will provide a free video stream of the championship race. Visit ncaa.com/liveschedule before the race to ensure that your device has the capability to view the stream, which can be tested when the NCAA Division III Championship races begin at 9 a.m. MST. Live updates specific to UCCS will be posted when they become available on the Mountain Lions' twitter account, @GoMountainLions.

The championships will feature an expanded field for 2012 with 32 teams from across the division invited to participate. It's an addition of eight teams from last year's championships, where the Mountain Lions finished No. 19 in Spokane, Wash. Saturday will be the fourth appearance for the men's team at the national championships in program history.

Emilio Trujillo will lead the Mountain Lions into the championship race after he paced UCCS in every race this season. He won the UCCS Rust Buster, Colorado College Invitational and the Maroon II race of the Roy Griak Invitational, and picked up All-RMAC and All-South Central Region honors at the first two championship races of the season. Trujillo posted the second-best individual finish for a Mountain Lion at the RMAC Championships with a seventh-place performance.

Sam Feldotto earned all-region honors two weeks ago and finished second for the Mountain Lions, who placed fourth in the team standings to claim a spot at the national championships. Oliver Williams finished No. 25 to be the third UCCS runner to earn an all-region medal to provide for the most all-region runners for the Mountain Lions in program history.

UCCS has been ranked ninth in the national rankings for a majority of the season (since Oct. 3), but consistently fourth in the tough RMAC. Four teams from the RMAC are ranked in the top nine of the national rankings. Only one other conference, the Northeast-10, has four teams ranked in the top 30, and none of those teams are ranked ahead of UCCS.

Division II Joplin Tornado Relief
In addition to the championship events, the Division II Coaches Association will present a check of approximately $30,000 to Missouri Southern State University and to the Joplin Public School District to assist in disaster relief from the 2011 Joplin Tornado. T-shirt sales from the RMAC Championships hosted by UCCS were part of the check, which will be presented Saturday night at the awards banquet.

Individuals can still contribute to the fund by making a check out to the Missouri Southern Foundation with "XC Tornado Relief" in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to:
Missouri Southern Foundation
Missouri Southern State University
3950 East Newman Road
Joplin, MO 64801

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