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NCAC 30th Anniversary Cross Country All-Decade Teams Announced

NCAC 30th Anniversary Cross Country All-Decade Teams

Allegheny's Kevin Pool '04 and Oberlin's Joanna Johnson '10 highlight an impressive list of student-athletes named to the North Coast Athletic Conference's 30th Anniversary men's and women's cross country teams.

Johnson {left}, one of only three women's runners on the list to earn first-team All-NCAC laurels four times in the last 10 years, was the most decorated NCAC cross country runner in the last decade between both genders. Johnson entered the league in 2007 with a bang, capturing NCAC Runner of the Year and Newcomer of the Year honors after breaking the tape at the NCAC Championship with a time of 22:48. Johnson also added NCAC Runner of the Year honors as league champion in 2008 and '10 to go along with a second-place finish in '09. Her time of 21:02 in the 2008 NCAC Championships still stands today as the best time in conference championship history since the women's competition moved to a 6,000-meter race in 2004.

Joining Johnson as four-time first-team All-NCAC selections during the last decade were Denison's Elaine Binkley '06 and Wittenberg's Mary Pfeifer '11. Binkley and Pfeifer both earned NCAC Newcomer of the Year honors as well in 2003 and 2008, respectively. In addition, Wooster's Katie Wieferich '06 was the only other women's runner in the last decade to earn multiple NCAC titles as she secured the feat in 2005 and '06.

Pool {right} only competed in the league for two of the last 10 years, but made an impact in those two seasons, winning the individual championship and earning NCAC Runner of the Year honors in 2003 and 2004. His individual championship in 2003 started a decade of dominance for Allegheny men's cross country as the Gators won eight of the 10 individual titles from 2003-12.

Although Pool was the only two-time NCAC champion in the last decade, there were other notable runners to toe the line on the cross country circuit, including Wabash's Seth Einterz '10, Allegheny's Ryan Place '07 and Denison's Dee Salukombo '11. Salukombo, the 2008 Newcomer of the Year and the 2011 Runner of the Year, topped the trio as a four-time, first-team All-NCAC selection. Place, the 2004 Newcomer of the Year recipient and 2007 Runner of the Year, was an honorable-mention selection in 2004 and earned first-team laurels in '05, '06 and '07, while Einterz was a second-team selection in 2007, followed by first-team performances in '08, '09 and '10.

The team championship race was also dominated by the Allegheny men during the last decade as the Gators elevated the trophy as league champions on eight different occasions (2004, '05, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, & '12). Kenyon opened the decade by claiming the title in 2003, while Wabash edged out Allegheny for the title in 2011.

On the women's side, Denison enjoyed success early in the decade, winning the team title from 2003-05, followed by Oberlin in '06, Allegheny in '07, Kenyon in '08 and Oberlin's current run of four-straight titles from 2009-12.

The North Coast Athletic Conference is celebrating its 30th playing season by selecting All-Decade teams in nearly every championship sport. Players from the first 10 years of play were selected in 1993-94, while players who competed from 1993-2002 were named to the 20th Anniversary All-Decade team. All current head coaches were asked to vote, as were some former coaches and administrators.

Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference currently consists of 10 academically selective NCAA Division III colleges and universities - Allegheny College, Denison University, DePauw University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University and the College of Wooster along with affiliate member Earlham College (field hockey). The NCAC sponsors 23 championship sports, 11 for men and 12 for women.