Huskies Qualify Two Teams for NCAA Cross Country Championships

Nov. 17, 2003

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Both Washington's men's and women's cross country teams were among the 13 at-large qualifiers announced Monday to the 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships, marking the first time since the 1989 season - and just the third time in UW history - that the Huskies will send both squads to the national meet.

'This is a huge day for our program,' said seventh-year cross country coach Greg Metcalf, whose women's team earned its seventh-consecutive NCAA Championships bid. 'Both of our teams went into last weekend's regional meet knowing that they had to beat some good teams to earn a bid, and they both took care of business. I couldn't be prouder what these folks have accomplished this season, and I can't wait to see them toe the line on Monday.'

The Huskies' cross country teams will be among 31 squads and 255 competitors at the national meet, hosted by Northern Iowa University on Nov. 24 at the Irv Warren Golf Course. Eighteen teams earned automatic bids by placing among the top-two at one of the nine regional meets contested Nov. 15, while the remaining 13 were selected provisionally based upon performances at the regional and other major competitions throughout the season.

Projected as low as fifth by some, Washington's women put together their most complete race of the season at Saturday's NCAA West Regional Championships in Portland, Ore., placing four runners among the top-26 finishers to earn third overall, ahead of 11th-ranked Arizona State and 23rd-ranked UC Santa Barbara.

The 20th-ranked Husky men, meanwhile, upset 12th-ranked Oregon to earn fourth at the regional, sparking their first trip to the national meet since 1993. Senior Eric Garner, the Huskies' top individual finisher at every race this season, led Washington back from an early deficit with a 21st-place individual finish.

Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional champ Stanford, which boasts the No. 1-ranked men's and women's teams, joins Washington as the only Pac-10 schools to qualify two teams for this year's NCAA Championships.

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