Huskies Earn At-Large NCAA Championships Bids

Nov. 12, 2006

SEATTLE - Washington's men's cross country team was one of 13 teams awarded at-large berths Sunday to the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind. Washington's 29th-ranked women were not selected as a team, though sophomore Anita Campbell and junior Amy Lia were both awarded at-large individual berths.

Both Washington's men's and women's teams placed fourth Saturday at the NCAA West Regional Championships in Portland, Ore., with Campbell (sixth) and Lia (eighth) each earning top-10 individual efforts. The top-two teams at each of the nine regionals nationwide earned automatic NCAA Championships berths, with at-large berths then awarded Sunday to an additional 13 teams, as well as the top-four individuals from each regional who were not on qualifying teams.

'We pretty much knew going into the regional what it was going to take for both of our teams to get the national meet, so I'm not at all surprised,' said 10th-year coach Greg Metcalf.

Washington's men, who have moved in and out of the top-25 all year, will be making their 10th NCAA Championships appearance all-time, and their third since 2003. Led by sophomore Jeremy Mineau and junior Mike Sayenko, the Huskies placed 29th at last year's NCAA meet, and boast an all-time best finish of fourth, in 1989.

'This men's team has had a bad taste in its mouth ever since last year's national meet - they felt they could have done a lot better,' Metcalf said. 'They've made that a real rallying point this year, to get back to nationals and prove this time that they belong on the same course with those top-ranked teams.'

Lia and Campbell, meanwhile, will each be making their second-career NCAA Championships appearances. The reigning NCAA track and field champion in the 1,500 meters, Lia placed 108th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships as a freshman in 2003, helping the UW women to 19th place overall.

Campbell, meanwhile, was the Husky women's lone NCAA Championships qualifier in 2005, placing 94th overall. She also qualified for the 2006 World Junior Cross Country Championships in April, and competed at the 2006 NCAA Track and Field Championships in the 5,000 meters in June.

'Obviously, it's disappointing that the women won't be joining them as a team, but you can be certain that Amy and Anita are going to give everything they've got,' Metcalf said. 'I mean, Amy's an NCAA champion and Anita's been to a World Championships - these aren't ladies that are going to back down from any challenge.'

For a complete list of teams and individuals selected to the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships, visit www.ncaasports.com.

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