Almost 300 student athletes from 29 different colleges and universities will flock to Warsaw and Winona Lake this week for yet another strong collaboration between Grace College and Warsaw Community High School.
Grace, along with Bethel College, is teaming up with Warsaw to host this year’s National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) men’s and women’s Division I and II cross country championships. Grace and Bethel will act as the host institution, while the races will be run at the Warsaw Cross Country Course on Friday morning. The bid to bring the races to Northern Indiana comes after the races’ previous site in the Missouri Ozarks became the host to the Division II cross country championships.
“We are lucky enough to work very closely with Warsaw to put together a variety of different events over the course of the year,” Grace athletic director Chad Briscoe said. “Our community is so special and we are very grateful that Warsaw is so open to this relationship. We think it’s a win-win for us to show off our great institution and for them to show off what is really a phenomenal cross country course.”
The Lancers playing host to yet another championship event showcases how far the program has come in the last few years, and where it currently sits in the NCCAA landscape.
“We hope that this recent stretch continues to showcase our desire for Christian excellence. I think that is our main priority in everything we say and do,” Briscoe said. “We’re blessed to have some great athletic programs and coaches who are so great at what they do. We do things the right way and we’re grateful for the platform that athletics give us the opportunity to have.”
The Lancers, Pilots and Tigers will host the event for the next two years. There will be four races held on Friday morning, beginning with the Division I men’s race at 9 a.m., followed by the Division II men. The Division I women’s race will be held at 11 a.m. with Division II to follow. This will be the first time Grace will have hosted a Division II event.
“We are really looking forward to bringing people into our community so they can see for themselves how great it is,” Briscoe said. “You may notice some longer lines at the fast food places or at the stop signs but we think that’s a good problem to have.”
In addition to Friday’s races, the course will be open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday for practices and walk-throughs. The races will have a $5 entry fee.