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Evergreen Cross Country Klimek at Nationals 2004

November 20, 2004

LOUISVILLE, KY-Maybe it was the muddy, hilly course, or the pressure of running against the nation's best. Maybe it was just an off day. In any case, Evergreen cross-country runner Josh Klimek finished near the back of the pack today at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships.

Crossing the finish line at 28:43, Klimek was a full two minutes and fifteen seconds off the time he ran to qualify for nationals two weeks ago.

"He looked pretty flat in the sloppy, muddy conditions," said Evergreen cross-country coach Craig Dickson. "He's pretty disappointed."

Klimek claimed 241st place, a far cry from the 60th to 100th place his times over the year indicated as likely.

"It's difficult to go train alone, then go down there and run alone," said Dickson. "He might have been a little overwhelmed, but he will be fired up for next year."

The race was won by Soimo Kiplagat of Lindenwood College with a time of 24:17. Cascade Conference runner Eric Griffiths of Eastern Oregon finished in sixth place recording a 24:43.

Though Klimek was not able to turn on the performance he wanted on the day, he did receive a national honor while in Louisville. Klimek was one of 65 cross-country athletes to receive the NAIA Scholar-athlete award for excellence in both the classroom and in athletic performance.