CEDAR CITY, Utah - Nov. 15 - Southern Utah junior Nate Jewkes will return to the NCAA Cross Country National Championship for the second consecutive season, having earned an at-large individual berth with his finish at the NCAA Mountain Region last weekend. The championship is set to take place on Saturday in Louisville, Ky., and will be streamed live in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Theater at 11 a.m. MST.
"I feel really good about going again this year," Jewkes said. "I feel like I have gained more experience and I'm hope to get into the top 40. I placed 80th last year, so I feel like 40th is a reachable goal."
As a sophomore, Jewkes qualified for the 2011 national championship alongside teammate Cameron Levins and went on to finish 80th on the Indiana State course with a 10k time of 30:39.0. He repeated as a national qualifier last weekend with an eighth-place individual finish at the Mountain Region, recording a time of 30:16.2 and improving on his previous qualifying mark by 10 positions and about 50 seconds.
Jewkes, along with the rest of the Thunderbird squad, has previous experience on the Louisville course which also played host to the NCAA Pre-Nationals on Oct. 13. Jewkes finished 14th in the 8k in 23:42.1 and commented that the course had some hills but was surprisingly fast.
"Nate is one of the very few to repeat as a national qualifier in the sport here at Southern Utah," head coach Eric Houle said. "He runs not only for himself but also representing the entire program and our hope is that he can get in there and improve on his previous finish."
Thunderbird fans are invited to come watch and support as Jewkes races in the men's 10k, set to stream live at 11 a.m. in the student center theater.