Morningside’s men’s cross country team will compete in Saturday’s NAIA National Championship in Lawrence, Kan.

Morningside College’s men’s cross country team will compete in the 2014 NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championship to be held Saturday at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan.

Morningside head coach David Nash has his team at the national meet for the third year in a row. Morningside’s best finish at the NAIA National Championship came last year when it finished 12th in the team standings. The Mustangs finished 23rd two years ago.

Morningside won its second consecutive Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) championship earlier this month on Nov. 8 in Mitchell, S.D. The Mustangs were ranked 12th nationally in the final regular season NAIA Men’s Cross Country Coaches Top 25 poll.

Defending NAIA National Champion Oklahoma City University has been ranked No. 1 throughout the season.

Aside from their victory at the GPAC Championships, the Mustangs also captured the team title at this season’s Grand View University Invitational.

Morningside’s Jay Welp, a senior from Conrad, Iowa, was named the 2014 Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Year after he won the individual title at this year’s GPAC Championships. Welp ran a time of 25:10.56 to triumph over a field of 99 runners.

The Mustangs’ Mark Abrams, a junior from Glenwood, Iowa, and Alec DeVries, a sophomore from Merrill, Iowa, joined Welp on this year’s All-GPAC Men’s Cross Country Team based on their performances at the conference meet. Abrams was the runner-up behind Welp with a time of 25:14.57, while DeVries finished sixth with a time of 25:24.75.

The rest of the Mustangs’ lineup at Saturday’s NAIA Cross Country National Championship will be comprised of Sean Skillern, a sophomore from Shenandoah, Iowa; Jacob Klein, a freshman from Fremont, Neb.; Dan Larscheid, a senior from Bondurant, Iowa; and Jacob Scott, a freshman from Rodney, Iowa.

The men’s race at Saturday’s NAIA Cross Country National Championships is slated for an 11:45 a.m. start. The top 30 individual finishers will be awarded NAIA All-America status. Morningside senior Garret Ehlers finished 26th at last year’s NAIA National Championship to become the Mustangs’ first-ever men’s cross country NAIA All-American.