Three men's, four women's cross country teams earn NCAA bids
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Three men’s and four women’s Pac-12 cross country teams are headed to the 2013 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind. In addition, four individual Pac-12 runners will be vying for the individual titles.
In order to be eligible to participate in the championships, teams and individuals qualified in their respective regional competitions. Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in each championship. The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams. Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large.
On the men’s side, STANFORD, OREGON and COLORADO each earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. The Cardinal claimed its fourth NCAA West Region title in five years after placing two runners in the top three and collecting 53 points. Freshman Edward Cheserek, who became the first-ever Duck to win the Pac-12 individual crown as a freshman two weeks ago, led UO to a second-place finish (64 points) and the automatic qualification.
In the Mountain Regional, top-ranked COLORADO was upset and came in second place, but still claimed an automatic bid into the NCAA Championships. The Buffs were edged out by Northern Arizona, 61-69, placing three runners in the top 15, including two in the top seven.
On the women’s side, COLORADO had an impressive showing, dominating the Mountain Regional and placing all seven runners in the top 15 for a low score of 29 points. It is the third regional title in five years for the Buffs, who went into the race ranked 10th in the country. The 29 points were the lowest scored at the regional race since BYU collected 20 in 1999. The Buffs were led by 2012 steeplechase London Olympian Shalaya Kipp, who was the runner-up finisher in the individual race.
In the women’s West Regional competition, ARIZONA continued its undefeated streak claiming its first regional crown since 1998. The Wildcats scored 84 points, placing three runners in the top 15, to nab the automatic bid. STANFORD was just 10 points back, tallying 94 on the strength of Aisling Cuffe’s third-place finish, to claim the second automatic qualifier. OREGON placed third with 120 points to give the Pac-12 a 1-2-3 finish and received an at-large bid, as did fifth-place WASHINGTON (162).
Thirty-eight individuals were also selected to participate in each championship through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection process. All individual qualifiers finished in the top 25 in their region. The men’s finishers to place in the top-25 at the West region and are now headed to the finals are WASHINGTON’s Aaron Nelson, who was eighth at the regional race, duplicating his effort from the Pac-12 Championships.
On the women’s side, UTAH’s Rebekah Winterton qualified individually out of the Mountain Regional, placing 10th at the race. Additionally, out of the West Region, CALIFORNIA’s Kelsey Santisteban makes her third-straight appearance at the national championship meet, while ARIZONA STATE’s Shelby Houlihan also earned a bid after placing second at the regional.
Indiana State University will host the NCAA Championships on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind. The men’s race will begin at noon ET, followed by the women’s race at 1:15 p.m. ET. A live webcast of the championships will be broadcast starting at noon. ET