Wallace State’s cross country teams are gearing up for the NJCAA Division II Cross Country Championships to be held at Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Saturday.
Both Wallace State teams are ranked 6th nationally and advanced to nationals after winning the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) championship meet on Oct. 30. It was the third consecutive championship for both Wallace State teams.
“Our runners are rested and ready to go, and I can sense them getting more and more focused by the hour. We hope we can measure up to our national rankings, and if we do, we have a great shot to cap a memorable year,” said Wallace State coach Stan Narewski. “Considering all of the challenges we’ve faced this year, we’re blessed to get on that plane and go to Iowa.”
Wallace State’s men had seven runners finish among the top eight, including the top four, at the ACCC meet at Huntsville’s John Hunt Park. Wallace State’s Jonathan Jenkins was the individual champion at the conference meet and named the 2020 ACCC Runner of the Year. He was followed in succession by teammates Taylor Nails, Raleigh Stamps and Trentan Williams.
“Jonathan Jenkins has been one our main guys all season. He’s ready to run in bright sunshine or a downpour. Jonathan, Taylor Nails and Raleigh Stamps have set the tone with each meet,” Narewski said.
Wallace State’s Dakota Sheppard, Jikori James and Jonathan Collett rounded out the top eight, securing the eighth conference title for the men’s program.
Wallace State’s women’s program won its fifth ACCC title behind individual runner-up Jennifer Aviles, Jaycee Biffle (3rd), Juliana Ballew (4th) and Cassidy Winter (5th).
Breanna Smith and Ally Amerson finished sixth and seventh respectively for Wallace State.
“Jaycee Biffle has been good for us all season long and Jennifer Aviles has been strong since overcoming her injury. We have four to five women who can finish first for us on any given day,” Narewski said.
Wallace State’s women will compete at nationals at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and the men at 3:15 p.m.
Wallace State sophomore Carter Goodwin finished tournament runner-up for the third time this fall in the second annual Dan York Memorial Tournament, held recently at Cross Creek Golf Course, honoring the late Hall of Fame Wallace State coach.
Goodwin finished one stroke shy of forcing a playoff, carding a 3-under par 141 in the 36-hole event.
Goodwin, who recently committed to play next season for the University of North Alabama, was a NJCAA Division I Honorable Mention All-American last spring.
Wallace State placed fourth as a team, finishing with a 13-over 589.
Only six strokes separated the top 11 finishers.
Wallace State’s Davis Aaron secured a top 10 finish for the Lions, shooting 2-over 146.
Patrick Minor was 14th with a 149 and Alex Flint shot a 150 for the Lions.
Wallace State’s Griffin McCrary and Joshua Darracott both carded an 8-over 152.
Allen Michael Burnett (153), Parker Davis (154), Holden Atchison (159) and Blayne Armstrong (168) rounded out the field for Wallace State, which competed with two flights.
The Lions wrap up the 2020 fall slate today and Friday in Montgomery.
Wallace State golf was led by coach York for 31 seasons. He guided Wallace State to all of its 13 conference titles and three NJCAA Division I national runner-up finishes. York, who died in Feb. 2019, coached 21 NJCAA All-Americans, 28 Academic All-Americans and had multiple players carve out successful professional careers.