For the Iowa Central men's cross country team, Saturday's NJCAA Div. I National Championships followed an all too familiar script.
Despite a usual balanced effort at Lakeside Golf Course, the No. 2 Tritons settled for runner-up honors once again with 53 points. Top-ranked Central Arizona (38) took home the title for a second straight year.
"Our guys ran just an amazing race and did an outstanding job," ICCC head coach Dee Brown said. "This is the third time now we've got second (at nationals). We can be disappointed in the finish, but we can't be disappointed in our performance."
Freshman Frankline Tonui, a recent Region XI gold medalist, claimed individual silver for the host Tritons, finishing in a time of 24:52.7. Harry Mulenga (24:39.5) of Central Arizona secured the victory.
Rounding out Iowa Central's scorecard were sophomore Tahir Chakisso (3rd, 25:09.4), freshman Dylan Eigenberger (11th, 25:52.8), sophomore Levi Storjohann (17th, 26:16.7) and freshman Tyson Wieland (23rd, 26:30.7).
Tonui and Chakisso both landed on the All-American first team for their showings, while Eigenberger received honorable mention accolades.
Due to a suspension, Iowa Central was unable to compete as a team at nationals the previous two seasons. The Tritons, who have won five of the last seven regional crowns, were second at nationals in both 2005 and 2007.
"It takes a lot of hard work to put a big event like (the NJCAA Div. I Championships) on," said Brown. "It was awesome though, seeing tons of other people come out and watch us. This (meet) wouldn't have been possible without the great support of our faculty and administration."
Central Arizona's Todd Jackson (4th, 25:23.7) and Cloud County's Benard Keter (5th, 25:27.0) were the other first-team All-American nominees.
In the men's race, a total of 298 athletes participated. Approximately 70 NJCAA institutions from across the United States were represented Saturday.
The 2015 and 2017 NJCAA Div. I National Championships are also set to take place at Lakeside Golf Course.
Iowa Central wraps up its season Saturday at the Half Marathon Classic in Hiram, Ga.