|WWU coach Pee Wee|
Halsell (WWU photo)
With trips to the NCAA Division II championships in Joplin, Missouri on the line, squads from Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, Central Washington and Saint Martin's head to Kahuku, Hawaii for the NCAA West Regional cross country championship meet Saturday.
The men's 10-kilometer race begins at 8 a.m. HT, followed by the women's six-kilometer run at 9 a.m. The top five team finishers in both the men's and women's races and the top three individuals not on one of the qualifying teams will travel to Joplin, Missouri, in two weeks for the NCAA II National Championships at Missouri Southern University.
The Viking men, ranked #10 in the USTFCCCA Division II poll, are seeking a sixth straight trip to nationals, and the #30 women a fifth consecutive appearance. In contrast to the cool and rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest, the conditions in Hawaii are expected to be humid and hot with a predicted temperature of 84 degrees.
Seattle Pacific's women's squad, which is ranked #25 in the USTFCCCA Division II poll, is looking to get back to the national championships, which it hasn't appeared in since 2009, as are its men's squad, which last appeared at the NCAA championships in 2004.
Though the Wildcat women's team placed fifth at the GNAC championship meet two weeks ago in Monmouth, Oregon, the school's highest finish since their third place finish in 2006, they are at best a long shot to qualify for the national championships.
However, Central Washington's Kelsey Kreft may have a shot to qualify for nationals as an individual.
NOTE: Western Washington University, the GNAC, and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.