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Gonzaga Takes 26th at NCAA XC Championships

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  • Gonzaga Takes 26th at NCAA XC Championships

    GU Takes 26th at NCAA XC Championships

    Mwaura breaks own 10K record to become first Zag All-American

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gonzaga men's cross country concluded its Fall 2021 season with a 26th-place team finish at the NCAA National Championships at Apalachee Regional Park Saturday morning, led by the best individual performance at the national stage in program history by James Mwaura.

    Mwaura's 36th-place finish with a time of 29:29.2 beat out Yacine Guermali's 55th-place finish last season as the highest in history, making Mwaura the first cross country All-American in program history -- all while breaking his own 10K record that he set a week prior at NCAA West Regionals.

    The redshirt junior took a spill within the first 100 meters, but rallied back to the front of the pack to anchor a 612-point race for GU.

    "James is the low stick -- he's steady," said head coach Pat Tyson. "He deserves to be All-American because he does everything. He works hard, he's focused … I don't think he's really satisfied with his place today, you know, and he was hoping, hoping for a top 10 finish, but hey, he struggled early falling down, came back, and still made it. That is a feat in of itself."

    Mwaura was followed by Kyle Radosevich (133rd, 30:28.2), Cullen McEachern (145th, 30:33.7), Riley Moore (179th, 30:58.6), Jake Perrin (233rd, 32:02.9), Evan Bates (238th, 32:22.2) and Wil Smith (241st, 32:35.1) to round out the Zags' scoring.

    "We always say this -- learn from it," Tyson said. "How can we get better? This is the toughest race in collegiate running, and we got here. We've got to be proud of that. But you know, we, we have higher goals moving forward."

    Garcia Cracks the Top 100

    Representing Gonzaga as an individual at the NCAA Cross Country National Championships for the second consecutive year, Kristen Garcia crossed the finish line of the women's 6K race in 20:26.4 for a career best 90th-place finish -- the best finish by a GU women's runner since Shelby Mills placed 82nd in 2015.

    Garcia's time stands as the fourth-fastest 6K in program history less than a week after shattering the program record, running the course more than a minute faster than her 21:44.1 race at last season's championships, where she placed 129th. But she had to face some early challenges too -- coming to a full stop nearly a kilometer into the race to avoid a pile-up after multiple runners hit the deck.

    "I think she could have been an All-American under different circumstances," said head women's coach Jake Stewart. "But to face the adversity she faced really early in a really short race, I think she can be really proud of, you know, keeping her composure and making the most out of it."

    Gonzaga's focus now turns to indoor track and field season, with a schedule to be announced. Check and follow @ZagRunning on Twitter and Instagram for race updates, coverage and more.

    Gonzaga Article Link

    Men's 10k Results Link

    Women's 6k Results Link