EKU Men’s Cross Country will Race for a National Title on Saturday

Posted at 8:32 PM, Nov 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 20:32:40-05
EKU Athletics

MADISON, Wis. – The Eastern Kentucky University men’s cross country team will compete against the nation’s best at the NCAA Division-I Cross Country Championships on Saturday at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course.

The men’s 10K race is set to go off at 12:45 p.m. ET.

The race will be streamed live at

EKU enters the national championship meet ranked No. 21 in the country. The Colonels earned an automatic bid to the Big Dance after finishing second at the NCAA Southeast Regional in Rock Hill, South Carolina last Friday.

Eastern will square off against other elite programs such as Arkansas, BYU, Florida State, N.C. State, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Syracuse, Texas, Villanova, Washington, Wisconsin, Oregon, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Colorado and Stanford.

This will be the EKU men’s sixth overall NCAA appearance, and first since 2015. The Colonels reached the national championships five consecutive years, from 2011 to 2015.

EKU’s best team finish at the NCAA meet came in 2013 (15th). The Colonels have also finished 17th (2015), 23rd (2014), 24th (2012) and 26th (2011).

Eastern will be led on Saturday by redshirt freshman James Sugira. Sugira won the individual title at the Southeast Regional, out-kicking Virginia Tech’s Peter Seufer to claim the victory with a 10K time of 29:26.9

Sugira is considered an outside contender for the NCAA title on Saturday. He is projected to finish in the top 5-10 of the race.

EKU’s best individual finisher at the NCAA Championships was Jacob Korir, who took sixth overall in 2007 and seventh overall in 2006.

The Colonels feature veteran runners after Sugira. Senior Jaime Romo finished 10th at the Southeast Regional (30:15.7) to earn All-Region honors. Senior Erick Rotich, meanwhile, has raced at the NCAA Championships twice in his career. He was a freshman on EKU’s NCAA team in 2015 (placed 90th overall), and he competed as an individual in 2016 (finished 105th overall).

Senior David Bascunana and juniors Samuel Abascal and Zach Stewart also bring plenty of big race experience.

Freshman Antoine Senard could be a key performer for the Colonels on Saturday. He is riding a wave of momentum after finishing fourth on the team and 31st overall at the Southeast Regional.

The top-40 finishers at Saturday’s meet will receive All-America honors.