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Franklin Pierce runners top the East region

The Franklin Pierce University men’s cross country team placed 25th out of 32 teams with 656 points Saturday at the NCAA Division II National Championship race at Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex in Spokane, Wash.

The Ravens were the highest finishing East Region team at the national championship event, finishing ahead of fellow Northeast-10 Conference member Stonehill (28th, 724 points) and Wilmington (Del.) (30th, 766 points). Adams State won the national championship with 54 points, and had one of its runners, Tabor Stevens, claim the individual title with a first-place time of 29:50.10 in the 10k race.

Franklin Pierce besting the other East Region schools in Saturday’s race was a fitting end to the Ravens’ 2013 season, as they were one of the top teams in the region all season along, including winning three races, and earning a pair of second-place finishes in the NE-10 championship, and the NCAA East Region Championship.

Sophomore Colton Ham was the highest finisher for the Ravens on the afternoon, as he placed 112th out of 246 competitors in a time of 32:28.40. It marked the first race this season that Ham was the highest finisher for Franklin Pierce.

Classmate Makopa Rugabirwa was not too far behind Ham’s pace, as he placed 127th with a time of 32:37.20.

Junior Antoine Gisore finished 151st in a time of 32:50.20, as he was competing in his second NCAA National Championship race in three years. As a rookie in 2011, and before transferring to Franklin Pierce, Gisore competed in the NCAA Division III National Championship.

The other two Ravens to count toward the team score in the national race were freshman Jon Holmes and sophomore Isaac Fithian, who finished 159th and 208th, respectively. Holmes recorded a time of 32:58.40, while Fithian had a mark of 33:51.70.

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