TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Phillip Reid finished 33rd overall and earned his second consecutive All-American honor, leading the Cal Poly men’s cross country team to an 11th place finish in a 10k race at the NCAA Championships on a cold and foggy morning at the LaVerne Gibson Championship Course Monday.
Cal Poly tallied 367 points to finish 11th, well ahead of their No. 22 national ranking heading into the race. Oregon won the team title with 85 points and Josh McDougal of Liberty won the individual title with a time of 29:22.4. The Mustangs were the second-best finisher from the highly competitive West Region.
“It was just an outstanding race,” Cal Poly coach Mark Conover said. “It was probably the deepest field in the last 10 years. I told the team, if we can get five guys around 100th place, we can be in the top 15 and you don’t have to be a hero to do that.”
The Mustangs employed a similar pack running strategy at the NCAA Championships to what they ran at the West Regional race on Nov. 10. While Reid ran near the front for most of the race, Troy Swier, Evan Anderson, Matt Johnsrud and Jeff Lease ran in a tight pack and finished within nine seconds of each other.
“I would say we moved from being somewhere around 18th to 20th all the way up to 11th in the last 2 kilometers,” Conover said. “Those five really had solid races. Troy, Evan, Matt and Jeff finishing within nine seconds of each other – that’s what got the job done.”
Reid crossed the line in 30:32 and was one of the top 25 Americans to cross the finish line, giving the senior his second cross country All-American honor in as many years. Reid finished 21st overall in 2006 en route to becoming an All-American for the first time.
Although he was 33rd overall this year, Reid counted for 23 points toward Cal Poly’s team score after removing the racers who competed individually. Following Reid was Swier (95th overall, 78th team score; 31:05.4), Johnsrud (109th overall, 87th team score; 31:10.6), Evan Anderson (111th overall, 89th team score; 31:11.9) and Lease (114th overall, 90th team score; 31:14.2). Joe Gatel (165th overall, 132nd team score; 31:39.0) and Leif Anderson (222nd overall, 184th team score; 32:38.7) displaced for the Mustangs.
The Mustangs have finished in the top 15 at the NCAA Cross Country Championships four times. Cal Poly was No. 13 in 2003 and 2006 and had their best showing in 2004 with a 10th place finish.
“We want to get it done over the 10k distance when it counts,” Conover said. “These guys have embraced that whole philosophy. That’s all it is, belief in each other – from teammates to coaches, knowing that you want to be able to run the best when it counts.”