This morning the NAIA 8th-ranked Forester men's cross country team departed for Kenosha, Wisconsin where they will participate in the NAIA National Championship on Saturday at 11:45 a.m.
HU is making a return trip to the event after earning an at-large bid last season. A year ago, the Foresters were ranked 13th in the final NAIA poll and finished 12th in the championship meet. This season, HU earned an automatic berth in the National Championship after winning the Mid-Central Conference title for the fourth time in the program's history. The Foresters are looking to improve on the sixth place finish turned in by Coach Tom King's 1999 squad at the national meet.
Leading the way for HU will be the 2008 MCC Conference champion, Nick Johnson. The senior, who won the conference meet with a personal best time of 24:59, will be making his third appearance at the national level. Johnson competed as an individual his sophomore year and finished 98th in a field of 255 runners with a time of 26:28. Last season he was HU's second finisher placing 65th in 25:59.
Two other All-Conference runners have experience at the national level and also will be called upon for leadership in the race. Junior Joseph Njeri paced the Foresters in the national meet last season with a 49th place finish in 25:45 and senior Dan Lindbloom was 67th in 25:59. Junior Luke Diehl (160th, 26:44) and senior Luke Andrews (243rd, 28:08) also competed for HU at the national championship last season.
Freshman Joseph Herber has made an impact this season. He was the fourth Forester to cross the finish line in the MCC Championship meet and he earned All-Conference honors with his eleventh place finish. Rounding out HU's roster is senior Josh Barnett, sophomore Dave Boyer and freshman Alec Rosario.
For more information on the National Championship meet, see 2008 NAIA Cross Country National Championships.