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Justyn Knight wins first NCAA cross-country individual title

The Canadian wins the NCAA individual title that had eluded him in past years on Saturday at the division one cross-country championships

Justyn Knight

In his final shot at the NCAA Division One Cross-Country Championships, Canadian Justyn Knight was able to secure his first individual D1 title.

The Toronto native, who runs for Syracuse, was in second entering the final stretch in Louisville, Ky. before kicking past Northern Arizona’s Matthew Baxter to win the 10K in 29:00.11. Knight finished second in 2016 and won the NCAA Division One – the top tier in American university athletics – team title with Syracuse in 2015.


Knight was in the lead pack for the entirety of the race though didn’t front-run until the final straightaway. Three runners – Knight, Baxter and another NAU runner, Tyler Day – were clear of the field in the final K. The margin of victory over Baxter, who led from 8K until the home stretch, was a mere 0.67 seconds.

The win on Saturday capped off an undefeated fall cross-country season for Knight, a cross-country senior, following a summer in which he represented Canada at the 2017 IAAF World Championships making it to the finals of the men’s 5,000m.


Knight improved his results at the NCAA Division One Cross-Country Championships each year he raced. In 2014, he was 143rd. Then fourth. Then second in 2016 before winning in 2017.

Knight’s individual NCAA cross-country title was the first for a Canadian since Sheila Reid, who ran for Villanova, won back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011. Simon Bairu, then racing for Wisconsin, was the last Canadian man before Knight to win the NCAA Division One Cross-Country Championships 10K, which he accomplished in 2004 and 2005.

Full Canadian results can be found here.