Ricks clinches 4th national title

Seven young women, representing Ricks College at the National Junior College Athletic Association's (NJCAA) women's cross country finals Nov. 14 in Overland Park, Kan., captured an unprecedented fourth consecutive national title and established a new national team record.

Previously, Barton County Community College of Kansas had won three consecutive national titles from 1990 to 1992.In this year's finals, Ricks College tallied 34 points against second-place Utah Valley State College's 74 points. In cross country, the low score wins.

All seven Ricks runners are members of the Church.

Alycia Boyer, a sophomore from Arco, Idaho, is the national champion in the 3.1-mile women's run. She beat some 80 runners with a time of 18:28, a full 39 seconds ahead of the second-place runner. She is a member of the College 31st Ward and serves as the ward's music director. Alycia was fourth nationally last year and is also the national 10,000-meter NJCAA champion in track and field.

Placing fifth nationally with a time of 19:17 was Melody Sheppard of Richmond, Va. She is a member of the College 28th Ward, serving as a Relief Society visiting teaching district leader.

Amber Cellan of Soda Springs, Idaho, placed seventh nationally at 19:23. She is a member of the College 19th Ward and serves as Relief Society publicity leader.

Lena Walker of Weiser, Idaho, placed eighth nationally at 19:28. She is a member of the College 47th Ward, serving as the Relief Society greeter.

AnnMarie Adams of Spokane, Wash., was the fifth runner to complete the team scoring in 14th place at 19:45. She is a member of the College 5th Ward and serves as Relief Society visiting teaching district leader. All five are considered All-Americans because of their placement in the finals.

Other team members are Natalie Griffeth of Rexburg, Idaho, and Cherie Stevens of Orem, Utah.

The Ricks men's cross country team placed fourth nationally with two runners, Matt Steiger at 13th and Brick Bergeson at 15th, receiving All-American honors.

Due to the best combined men's and women's team performances, the Ricks College teams were honored with the Cross Country Journal Award.

Coach Doug Stutz was named NJCAA Coach of the Year. He has coached cross country at Ricks College since 1992. He previously served as assistant coach and is also an assistant in the school's track program. He is an elder in the Rexburg 15th Ward, Rexburg Idaho Center Stake, and serves as Cubmaster in his ward.

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