Juniors Matt Leonard (26:12.2) of Higginsville and Alex Avilez (26:15.1) of Escondido, Calif., finished eighth and ninth respectively Saturday in the Heart of America Conference Championships at Lamoni, Iowa. As a result, they qualified for the NAIA Championships -- Nov. 17 at Vancouver, Wash. -- the first appearance for the Vikings since Jessica Buchanan made the field in 2005.
Under first-year head coach Nathan Christianson, Valley came in second in the team standings with 74 points, its best showing since the early 1990s. Rounding out the Vikings' score were junior Chase Burgess (26:56.2) in 16th place, junior Ignacio Franco (27:15.8) 18th and senior Andrew Mohler (28:09.1) 25th.
Baker won the men's title with 29 points, while Central Methodist was the women's champion with 32 points.
LAMONI, Iowa -- Top-seeded Graceland advanced to the finals of the Heart of America Conference Tournament with a 2-0 home win Tuesday over the Valley women's soccer team.
The 12th-ranked Lady Yellowjackets jumped in front in the 38th minute with junior Sarahi Ortiz Casillas' 18-yard shot. They got an insurance goal from senior Gisela Arrieta 20 minutes into the second half.
The Lady Vikings were held to four shots on goal, two by junior Floxy Owere, but junior Stefany Castano Cardozo stopped them all for her third shutout of the season.
Freshman Irene Sanchez made six saves for Valley (11-8-1), which sees its season end.
Graceland (16-2-1) will be at home Friday to take on No. 17 Benedictine, a 3-1 semifinal winner over Baker.
The MVC men's basketball team recovered from an 11-point halftime deficit for its first win of the season Tuesday, a 53-51 non-conference decision over visiting Hannibal-LaGrange.
The Vikings opened the second half with a 19-4 run over 10 minutes, shutting out their foe for five minutes during that stretch. Valley surged ahead with four minutes remaining and held off the Trojans, whose shot at the buzzer missed.
Junior Arii Meuel scored 11 points to lead Hannibal-LaGrange (0-3), which was out-shot by the Vikings from the floor during the second half, 50.0 to 26.3 percent.
Senior Michael Connor tallied 14 points and freshman Jordan Epps added 13 points for Valley (1-1), which has a return match with Hastings (Neb.) on the road Friday.