Westmont’s men’s and women’s cross country teams will be well-represented at the NAIA National Championship in Kenosha, Wis., on Saturday, with 14 runners making the trip. The men’s team is returning to nationals for the third year in a row, while the women’s squad is making its second appearance in the last two years.
“It feels exciting to have both teams going back to nationals for the first time in a couple of years,” said head coach Russell Smelley. “My hopes are top-10 finishes. Both teams could be in the top 10.”
Three-time All-American Anna Stumbo will try to become just the second woman in Westmont cross-country history to earn All-American honors in each of her four years. The senior, who will complete her college career at the end of this semester, also holds four All-American honors in track and field and is the reigning national collegiate champion in the marathon.
Stumbo will be joined by fellow seniors Lisa Griego and Leanne Riggins, junior Kaitlyn Dunn, sophomore Christa Juell and freshmen Katie Fritzke and Chrissa Trudelle. Griego, a walk-on runner who holds sophomore eligibility, earned both All-Golden State and All-Region II honors this year and has the potential to add an All-American title Saturday.
The men’s squad will be led by seniors Aaron Megazzi and Robert Cherry. Megazzi, who earned All-American honors at last year’s national championship, has been the marquee runner for the Warriors over the last four years. Cherry, also a walk-on athlete, has steadily improved over the last four years and also will contend for an All-American finish. Cherry was Westmont’s top finisher at the Region II Championship two weeks ago.
Joining Megazzi and Cherry will be senior Nick Martin, sophomore Sean Adams and freshmen Jacob Goodin and Eric Williams. Junior Andrew Dixon is also scheduled to compete but is struggling with a sore knee. If he is unable to go on Saturday, his spot will be taken by junior Kirby Ifland.
Ron Smith is Westmont College’s sports information director.