VMI’s Jahanzib Shahbaz earns Top 200 Finish at NCAA XC Championships
As only the second runner in program history to participate at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, VMI senior Jahanzib Shahbaz earned a Top 200 finish at the 2021 race Monday afternoon in Stillwater, Okla.
As an at-large qualifier, the Stafford, Virginia, native ran a 10K time of 32:41.0 for 190th place overall in the field of 250 runners.
“It was an unbelievable opportunity and experience for Jahanzib,” said VMI Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Darrin Webb. “Finishing 190th out of 250 of the best distance runners in the country is a solid day’s work. Today was a good day for Jahanzib, VMI and our team. He will enjoy today … tomorrow he begins to prepare for an exciting upcoming outdoor track campaign. He is focused toward another championship season opportunity.”
Steadily improving in placement each 1,000 meters, Shahbaz finished in just over three minutes from the individual winner Conner Mantz from Brigham Young. Northern Arizona won the team title.
“I am proud of Jahanzib and all the work he chose to do to better himself,” said head VMI cross country coach Dr. Drew Ludtke. “He represents VMI with class and dignity. He had a great race today and he’s excited to represent VMI for one more season in outdoor!”
Shahbaz finished his redshirt senior year with a second-place finish at the Tom Scott Open back in October. He tallied another second-place finish a few weeks ago at the Southern Conference Championship in 24:23.74 (8K).
Despite the shortened 2020 season, Shahbaz earned First Team All-SoCon honors for the second straight year and has led VMI in every cross country competition the last two years.
Jack Ditt was the first VMI runner in program history to compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships back in 1983.
Shahbaz has one more season of eligibility in outdoor track and field to compete for the Keydets.