DAMON Martin was explaining that every four years NCAA Division II Athletics hosts a fall festival that pushes back the date of the national cross country race by two weeks and subsequently the end of the collegiate cross country season as a whole.

This year’s fall festival, which brings together a number of national championships at a single site over several days, will be the weekend of Dec. 1-3 in Seattle. Martin’s Adams State Cross Country teams – women and men – plan on being there looking for more national gold.

The road to Seattle begins this weekend when the Grizzlies compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships in Durango. It will be the first test of the 2022 version of Adams State Cross Country and the teams will find their ultimate test at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships the first weekend in December.

Colorado School of Mines poses a threat to Adams State this year, particularly on the men’s side both in the RMAC Championships and then the NCAA South Central Regional Championships to be held at Washington Park in Denver on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Whether anyone can run with the Grizzlies women is to be seen. Adams State won the women’s national team title a year ago for its 19th NCAA Division II crown. Number 20 is definitely within grasp for a team that returns five All-Americans, including Brianna Robles and Precious Robinson, and the 2019 individual national champion, Stephanie Cotter, who returned to Adams after a year away.

“We have a very good women’s program, and this year I would say is one of the stronger teams that we’ve had,” Martin said during an appearance on The Valley Pod podcast by Alamosa Citizen.

Awet Beraki, a junior college transfer from Cloud County Community College in Kansas, has been pacing the men’s team. He’s joined by Cam Allan, who arrived as a graduate student from Durham, England, in leading the Grizzlies going into the final three races of the season.