Brigham Young University seal individual titles as British runner Charles Hicks of Stanford impresses in fourth at the US collegiate division one event in Florida

Conner Mantz won his second consecutive NCAA cross-country men’s title while Whittni Orton took victory in the women’s race at the division one championship event in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday (Nov 20).

In the team stakes, Northern Arizona won the men’s crown for the fifth time in six years as NC State claimed the women’s competition on a rolling course in warm, sunny conditions.

Mantz, 24, made his move on “the wall” – an uphill section about 500m from the finish – but then had to see off a spirited counter-attack from Athanas Kioko before kicking away to win in a course record of 28:33 over the 10km distance.

Wesley Kiptoo of Iowa State finished runner-up five seconds behind with Kioko of Campbell a further two seconds behind in third.

Charles Hicks – a Briton studying at Stanford University – ran 28:47 in fourth as he led his team to fifth place.

Charles Hicks (David Hicks)

“It seemed like every so often, somebody new was taking the front and pushing it,” said Mantz. “It wasn’t just Kiptoo this time. I don’t know if that was better or worse for me, but it all worked out.

Northern Arizona’s winning team effort was led by Abdihamid Nur in seventh, then Nico Young and Drew Bosley in 11th and 13th respectively as they beat Iowa State and Oklahoma State.

Further down the field there was drama as Cooper Teare, the NCAA 5000m champion, staggered across the line in 247th although he was later declared healthy post-race.

Whittni Orton (150) (NCAA)

In the women’s race Orton used similar tactics by making her move on “the wall”.

Unlike the men’s race, though, her rivals were unable to fight back and she stormed away to win in a course record of 19:25 over the 6km distance as defending champion Mercy Chelangat of Alabama was runner-up four seconds behind, while West Virginia’s Ceili McCabe was a close third.

Orton led BYU to silver medals in the team stakes as NC State won thanks to Kelsey Chmiel (6th), Katelyn Tuohy (15th) and Alexandra Hays (22nd). 

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