Milligan harriers head to nationals

from staff reports

   For the first time in school history, both the men's and women's cross country teams will head to Louisville, Ky. for the NAIA National Championships, which are set for Saturday, after winning the Appalachian Athletic Conference and the NAIA Region 12.
   Milligan received an automatic bid to nationals by winning both the men's and women's regional. In doing so, Milligan placed seven runners on the all-region first-team and four more on the second-team. The Buffaloes placed nine on the All-Conference (AAC) team.
   Milligan head coach Chris Layne stated: 'Right now we have nothing to lose as neither team has been ranked above 21 all year. Both teams were unranked going into regionals, so we're the underdog."
   Luckily for Milligan, it will run the same course at the National Championship as it did when they won the Region 12 Championship.
   The men's squad will be led by freshman Sean Bowman, sophomore Chris Wright, senior Shane Oakleaf, and sophomore Trevor Donovan. All were named to this season's all-conference and first-team all-region squads. Also receiving accolades were junior Ted Dubois, freshman Jair Collie, and freshman Josh Ferry, who were named second team All-Region.
   The Milligan women are very young but very talented. Freshman Marta Zimon, sophomore Megan Lease and junior Lauren Gross will lead the Buffaloes. All three were named all-conference and first team all-region.
   Freshman Amber Peace was also named second team all-region.
   The Lady Buffaloes will be without sophomore Ann Marie Gardner, who sprained an ankle playing basketball for Milligan. Zimon, the 2003 National Champion in the 5000-meters indoor, is expected to challenge for the national title.
   "Marta has had a great freshman season. If all goes well, she can be top ten this weekend," said Layne.
   "We're all really excited and feeling strong. We've come together as a team and are really working hard and pushing each other. I think we can all go out there and give a little more at nationals and make a real name for Milligan," said junior Lauren Gross.
   Layne was named the Region-12 men's and women's coach of the year. He said, "This is a young group on both sides, so we have a lot to look forward to over the next few years. I'm proud of what they've accomplished."
   For more information on the NAIA National Championships, go to