In a stunning turn of events, Edward "King Ches" Cheserek of the University of Oregon was denied his fourth consecutive NCAA DI cross country title.
Patrick Tiernan of Villanova and Justyn Knight of Syracuse broke away from the 15-time NCAA champion over the final half mile in Terre Haute, Ind. and the Australian Tiernan --who was runner-up to Cheserek at the 2015 national cross country meet-- put five seconds on his Canadian rival to cross the line in 29:22. Knight crossed in 29:27.3 while clapping his hands together in joy. The runners embraced in a show of sportsmanship.
Cheserek finished third in 29:48, just before a fast-closing Futsum Zienasellasie of Northern Arizona who ran 29:49.8. NAU's top four runners all earned All-American honors (Matthew Baxter 11th, Tyler Day 23rd, Andy Trouard 37th) as the Lumberjacks combined for 125 points to win the first NCAA team cross country title in program history. The title was particularly sweet as head coach Eric Heins is retiring at the end of the season.