GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Paul Lewis is headed back to the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship after winning the Great Lakes Regional Championship. A senior who prepped at Albion High School, Lewis completed the 8K course in 25:10 for a nearly 5-second margin over Dalton Boyer from Wabash.
Albion Coach Hayden Smith said Lewis and teammate Mitchell Klingler were buried in traffic early, but they were among the top five runners 2 ½ miles into the race.
"Paul's finish as the first Albion runner to win the regional was a special moment," Smith said. "He becomes the first Albion runner to go to the national championship all four years. He ran a nearly perfect race. He was patient, taking over the lead at the 5-kilometer mark and he pulled away from that point."
Klingler, who will complete his career as an all-region runner after finishing 25th, likely used up too much energy in working through the traffic. He crossed the finish line in 25:57.4.
"We were trying to run the big race," Smith said. "Everybody ran hard."