NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Simpson's Joe Farrand owns a unique skill-set. By day, he is one of the Central Region's top cross country runners. By night, he is an opera star.
The sophomore became Simpson's third national-qualifier in as many years, turning in an all-region performance by placing 10th (25:58.1) and leading the Storm to a 13th-place finish of 27 teams at the NCAA Central Region Championships hosted by St. Olaf on Saturday.
The Storm scored 340 points, finishing behind Carleton (317) and ahead of Saint Mary's-Minn. (374). St. Olaf won the team competition with 70 points, followed by Central (75) and Luther (144).
Farrand wasn't able to travel with the team to Northfield on Friday afternoon due to his leading role in Simpson's Friday night production of the Beggar's Opera. Instead, he performed, then made the nearly four-hour trip North separately.
He didn't arrive at the team hotel until 2:30 a.m. and was competing for a spot in the national meet only 8 ½ hours later.
"Joe remained incredibly focused during this less-than ideal situation and ran his best race of the season," head coach Heath Moenck said. "For him to qualify for the national meet after everything he's been through is something he won't soon forget."
Farrand has had a breakout season for the Storm in 2012, overcoming an injury which sidelined him for nearly two years. By comparison, losing a few hours of sleep seems like a minor speed bump.
Mitchell Davis ran his best race of the season, breaking 27 minutes for the first time since September to place 47th (26:51.0). John Warnke came in 64th (27:11.8) and Jake Sutton placed 108th (28:11.7).
"Our men battled today and capped off an excellent season," Moenck said.
Farrand gets to continue his season at the NCAA Division III National Championships on Saturday, Nov. 17 in Terre Haute, Ind., where Rose-Hulman will serve as host.