BURNSVILLE, Minn.(KWSN) - Both Augustana men's and women's cross country teams were selected by the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference coaches as the top teams in the league in a release on Wednesday afternoon.
Senior runners Paul Yak and Runa Falch were listed as the NSIC preseason men's and women's athletes of the year. Augustana was a unanimous selection on the men's side, collecting all 12 possible first-place votes - coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. The men gathered 144 points to lead the 13 teams. In the women's poll, the Vikings grabbed 13 of the 15 possible first-place nods for a total of 195 points.
Yak enters his senior season as the two-time defending NSIC individual champion and a three-time All-NSIC honoree. The Storm Lake, Iowa native is also a two-time All-Central Region winner and helped the Vikings to their first region championship since 1991. Augustana also recorded a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships last season, the highest national finish in program history.
Falch, a three-time All-America and All-NSIC award winner, has her eyes set on winning the individual championship again - the senior grabbed the title in 2011. Hailing from Steinkjer, Norway, Falch won last year's Central Region individual championship and was named USTFCCCA Central Region athlete of the year. The Augustana women captured their first region title in program history behind Falch's effort one season ago.
The Vikings were the national runners-up at the NCAA Championships last fall and won the national championship in 2011. Augustana kicks off the season with the annual Augustana Twilight meet at Yankton Trail Park on Sept. 6 beginning at 8 p.m.
Courtesy of Augustana College