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CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING

College Cross Country: UAA men, UAF’s Rosie Fordham earn bids to NCAA D2 nationals with Brady Burrough and Kaleb Beloy

by | Nov 7, 2023 | Cover Story, Cross Country Running, Running

Kendall Kramer and Sophie Wright won’t be the only Alaskans competing at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships in two weeks. The duo will be joined by the UAA men’s team and UAF’s Rosie Fordham, along with Brady Burrough and Kaleb Beloy, who all secured at-large berths.

The Seawolves, who placed fifth at West Regionals, were buoyed by strong performances and consistency throughout the season.

The men kicked off the season with a pair of wins against UAF, placed runner-up at the Bill Roe Classic and bagged sixth at the Lewis Crossover, before claiming runner-up on home soil at the GNAC Championships. Since the latter three meets were contested in the seven-week window that includes the regional championships, the performances would be considered by the selection committee for one of the 10 available at-large bids.

Aside from regionals, arguably the most crucial performance came at the Lewis Crossover in Evansville, Ind., where the Seawolves bettered Saginaw Valley who later went on to place third at Midwest Regionals, automatically qualifying for the national meet. This was likely one of the factors that helped build the case for an at-large berth.

While UAA competes in one of the deeper regions, the strength of the pack elevated them to their ultimate goal of qualifying for nationals for the first time as a team since 2018.

“The way these kids ran for each other no matter how their individual race was going contributed to our best team performances in at least four years and gave the men a chance at qualifying for nationals,” said coach Chas Davis in a press release.

The Seawolf qualifiers include Cole Nash, a two-time All-American in cross country, Michael Zapherson, who is making his second trip to the national meet, and debutants John Peckham, George Payne, Wyatt Matyas, Zachary Kohler and Anchorage’s Ty Elliott — a former Grace Christian standout.

UAA men’s cross country team qualifiers. Photo by UAA XC/TF

Also making a return to the big dance is UAF’s Rosie Fordham, who will join Kramer on the starting line.

The junior was selected for her third trip to the national meet, after placing sixth at West Regionals against a loaded field.

Earlier in the season, Fordham claimed third at the Bill Roe Classic, finishing as the top Division II athlete in the race. She followed up the performance with a win at the San Francisco State Invitational, before placing runner-up to Kramer at the GNAC Championships.

Her solid performances provided leverage at the regional meet, as Fordham wound up previously beating four of the five competitors ahead of her at least once during the season.

And while the UAF women came within four points of qualifying automatically a team, their team performances throughout the season were some of the strongest in more than a decade, as the Nanooks continue their resurgence.

In the South Central Region, Anchorage’s Brady Burrough and Kaleb Beloy — former South High teammates — received at-large berths through their team’s performances.

Burrough, a sophomore at Fort Lewis, had the race of his life at the regional championships, slicing 2:45 from his 10-kilometer time and improving by 45 places from last season. He was also his team’s fourth runner, a crucial part of the scoring squad which spanned just 14 places from first to fifth runner.

The tight-knit Skyhawks came away with a sixth-place showing, not only improving by five positions from last year but also qualifying for the national meet for the first time since 2012.

Beloy, a junior at CSU-Pueblo, finished just three spots behind Burrough at the regional meet also coming away with personal bests. He sliced over a minute from his 10-kilometer time and moved up seven places from last season’s performance, finishing as his team’s second scorer.

After placing fourth at the RMAC Championships, the ThunderWolves finished eighth in a deep regional field, qualifying for the national meet for the first time since 2018.

The NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships will be held in two weeks in Joplin, Missouri on Nov. 18.

Story made possible by:

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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