Missouri's Karissa Schweizer (340) runs towards the finishing line in the women's NCAA Division I Cross-Country Championships Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Terre Haute, Ind. Schweizer won the race.
Photo: Darron Cummings/AP

Urbandale’s Karissa Schweizer NCAA XC Champion

As a high school runner, Karissa Schweizer dominated cross country fields as a Dowling Catholic Maroon. Photo David Mable

As a high school runner, Karissa Schweizer dominated cross country fields as a Dowling Catholic Maroon. Photo David Mable

Karissa Schweizer was a part of three Iowa team high school cross country titles when she was at Dowling Catholic.

She has her own crown now, and on an exponentially larger stage.

The Urbandale native and Missouri junior capped off a terrific cross country season by winning the NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind. Schweizer became the school’s first female national champion in cross country and the first in program history since Keith Bacon won the National Title in 1955. Schweizer becomes Mizzou’s 27th overall individual champion.

Schweizer is believed to be the first Iowa high school graduate to win an NCAA women’s cross country title.

Schweizer stayed near the front of the pack for the majority of the race, but trailed Michigan’s Erin Finn down the final stretch. With 100 meters to the finish, Schweizer kicked it into high gear and passed Finn to capture the title.

Missouri's Karissa Schweizer (340) runs towards the finishing line in the women's NCAA Division I Cross-Country Championships Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Terre Haute, Ind. Schweizer won the race. Photo: Darron Cummings/AP

Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer (340) runs towards the finishing line in the women’s NCAA Division I Cross-Country Championships Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Terre Haute, Ind. Schweizer won the race.
Photo: Darron Cummings/AP

“I was up there with the lead pack and knew I had another gear,” Schweizer told the school in a news release. “When I saw the leader, I thought maybe this could be my day. My coach (Marc Burns) said always just go with whatever moves are made. I felt good, so I knew if I could hang around near the front, I could kick at the end.”

Schweizer, who won the SEC championship earlier in the month, crossed the finish line at 19:41.6, 13 seconds faster than her previous personal-record time of 19:54.4, set at the NCAA Midwest Regional on Nov. 10.

The Iowa State women finished 29th in the race. Anne Frisbie finished 77th to lead the Cyclones.

The Iowa State men placed 16th in their portion of the Division I championships, with Thomas Pollard pacing the team in 45th place. Drake’s Reed Fischer placed 50th.

At the Division III women’s race in Louisville, Ky., Loras sophomore Audrey Miller finished runner-up to Stevens Institute’s Amy Regan, who was victorious by 15 seconds in 20:16.4. Defending champion Abrah Masterson of Cornell was seventh, and Wartburg’s Ashlyn Bagge placed 16th.

On the men’s side in Division III, Loras finished 10th as a time. Luther’s Isaac Jensen was 10th individually in a time of 24:37.9.

Story: Register Staff: Des Moines Register