Women’s cross country team places second in the nation, four Bruins earn All-American honors at NJCAA National Championship

The KCC cross country teams pose with a trophy at the National Championship meet.

Kellogg Community College’s women’s cross country team placed second in the nation at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III National Championship Saturday, and four Bruins came home with All-American honors for their performances in the women’s and men’s races.

The women’s team was led by sophomore Emma Berning (Battle Creek/Harper Creek High School), who finished the 5K race in second place, and freshman Hannah Wilkinson (Hillsdale/Hillsdale Academy), who finished in fourth. Both runners earned NJCAA First Team All-American honors. Freshman Kennedy Vanderlugt (Plainwell/Plainwell High School) finished in sixth place, earning Second-Team All-American honors.

The Bruins finished just six points behind national champion Joliet Junior College, of Illinois, in the final meet of the season, which was held in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

KCC’s men’s team fielded too few runners to score as a team, but had a strong showing in freshman Brian Frazee, whose third-place finish earned him First Team All-American honors in the 8K men’s race.

Erin Lane, head coach of KCC’s men’s and women’s cross country teams, said she couldn’t ask for more from the women’s team, with four of the five running lifetime- or season-best times.

“Emma ran most of the race right on the shoulder of the eventual winner. It was exciting to see her up there racing, doing exactly what we knew she was capable of. Hannah and Kennedy ran very solid races as well,” Lane said. “Unfortunately, we just missed edging out Joliet for the national title, but we are thrilled to bring home the runner-up trophy and four runners who earned All-American honors.”

Frazee continued to amaze with another strong performance, Lane said.

“He had an amazing freshman year and is only going to get better and stronger moving forward,” she said.

The Bruins’ success comes on the heels of the women’s second regional championship in three years with a first-place finish at the NJCAA Region XII Division III Cross Country Championship Oct. 31. It was the team’s second regional championship since the College’s men’s and women’s cross country teams began competing in the fall of 2018, when both the men’s and women’s teams were regional champions in the teams’ inaugural year. Both Wilkinson and Frazee were individual regional champions in their respective races last month.

Individual national championship results for each Bruin follow.

Women’s Race

  • Emma Berning (Battle Creek/Harper Creek High School), 2nd Place, 20:24.88
  • Hannah Wilkinson (Hillsdale/Hillsdale Academy), 4th Place, 20:42.71
  • Kennedy Vanderlugt (Plainwell/Plainwell High School), 6th Place, 21:19.69
  • Ana Pace (Battle Creek/Lakeview High School), 24th Place, 24:20.17
  • Ava Cooney (Athens/Athens High School), 27th Place, 25:10.26

Full results for the women’s race can be found at https://mccaa.org/sports/wxc/2020-21/files/Results/20njcaad3wxcmeet.pdf.

Men’s Race

  • Brian Frazee (Watervliet/Home School), 3rd Place, 27:36.71
  • Hunter Finnila (Battle Creek/St. Philip Catholic Central High School), 16th Place, 29:16.32
  • Colin McDowell (Marshall/Olivet High School), 27th Place, 31:57.50
  • Reece Ratliff (Battle Creek/Lakeview High School), 28th Place, 32:00.79

Full results for the men’s race can be found at https://mccaa.org/sports/mxc/2020-21/files/Results/20njcaad3mxcmeet.pdf.

For more information about women’s cross country at KCC, visit www.kellogg.edu/womens-cross-country. For more information about men’s cross country at KCC, visit www.kellogg.edu/mens-cross-country.

Coach Lane can be reached at 269-965-4151 or crosscountrycoach@kellogg.edu.

Click here to view team and individual photos of KCC’s 2020-21 men’s and women’s cross country teams on the College’s Flickr page, which may be downloaded for use by fans and the media.

The above photo from the National Championship meet is courtesy of Coach Lane.

For more news about Kellogg Community College, view our latest press releases online at https://daily.kellogg.edu/category/news-releases.