Gig Harbor High School graduate Miles Unterreiner (left/photo by Paul Merca), who is a key component in second ranked Stanford's bid to unseat #1 Oklahoma State in Saturday's NCAA cross country championships in Louisville, Kentucky, faces a second race to the line moments after he crosses the finish in the men's 10k national title contest, scheduled to start at 1:15pm, eastern (10:15 am in Seattle).
Shortly after his race, Unterreiner, who finished 16th at last Friday's NCAA West Regional at Jefferson Park in Seattle, will board a private plane back to Seattle for a 4 pm interview and reception, in which he will find out if he is a recipient of a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, a postgraduate award for selected foreign students to study at the University of Oxford in England.
The interview process for the Rhodes Scholarship occurs over a two-day period. Unterreiner will attend the first part of the interview in Seattle on Friday, then fly to Louisville to meet his team for Saturday's race.
In an interview posted on the Stanford Daily web site, Unterreiner said that the first meeting in Seattle with the Rhodes panel would be meaningless if he can't get back to Seattle after the race for the second interview, both of which are mandatory.
There are no direct commercial flights from Louisville to Seattle that would allow him to make the second interview Saturday afternoon. Given the rules that the NCAA enforces on student-athletes regarding benefits, Unterreiner had to wait until Monday to find out if a private plane could be provided in order for him to make the interview.
The list of notable Rhodes Scholarship recipients include former New York Knick forward and US Senator Bill Bradley, President Bill Clinton, NBA center and Congressman Tom McMillen, and US Senator J. William Fulbright.
You can also read an article on Unterreiner's plight here, courtesy of the San Jose Mercury News.
Speaking of the NCAA cross country championships, the USTFCCCA released its final regular season poll Tuesday, with Florida State and Oklahoma State holding the #1 women's and men's spot heading into Saturday's national title race at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park.
In the women's poll, Florida State, Oregon, Iowa State, Stanford and Arizona are in the top five.
The Washington Huskies are ranked #7, with Colorado the only other Pac-12 school ranked at #23.
On the men's side, Stanford is co-number 2 with Iona, followed by Wisconsin and Texas.
From the Pac-12, Colorado is ranked #7, with Oregon at #16, and UCLA at #22.
Saturday's NCAA championship race begins with the women’s 6k, slated to begin at noon, eastern (9 am on the West Coast), followed by the men’s at 1:15 p.m., eastern. NCAA.com will provide a live webcast of the national championships.