INDIANAPOLIS--After Friday's fifth place performance at the NCAA West Regional cross country championships in Sacramento, there was a bit of a cloud hovering over the University of Washington women's cross country team (left/photo by Paul Merca) and their chances of advancing to the national championship meet in seven days in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The cloud was lifted when the NCAA Division I track & field committee announced that the Huskies were advancing to the national championship race as one of 13 at-large teams.
The top five teams from Friday's race--Arizona, Stanford, Oregon, San Francisco, and Washington were all selected to the national title race, with the Wildcats and Cardinal earning the automatic berths by finishing 1-2.
The strengths of schedule for the Ducks, Dons, and Huskies over the regular season, plus their high rankings in the USTFCCCA national coaches' poll played a part in having five teams from the West Region advance to the national championships.
Apart from a two-year gap in 2005-06, the UW women’s cross country team has made the NCAA Championships in 15 of the past 17 years going back to 1997, which was the first year that Greg Metcalf coached the women’s team. Washington looks to extend its recent run of success at nationals, which includes five top-10 finishes in the past six years and three podium finishes, capped by a national title in 2008.
As expected, Washington's Aaron Nelson, who finished eighth at the regional meet in Sacramento, was given an individual spot in next week's national championship meet.
Nelson has followed through on a great season that started with wins at the Sundodger Invite and the Bill Dellinger Invite and included an eight-place finish at Pac-12s.
Among significant individuals who may compete in next week's championships with Washington ties include Cornell's Devin McMahon (Redmond HS), who was 41st in the Northeast regional meet in 21:19; Nathan Weitz of Northern Arizona (Shadle Park HS), who was 28th in the Mountain regional meet in 30:09; Shane Moskowitz of Oklahoma State (Central Kitsap HS), who was 40th in the Midwest regional in 31:18; and Charlie McDonald of Portland (Bellevue HS) who was 16th in the West regional in 30:04.
The NCAA release announcing the teams and individuals selected for the national championship meet is available here.
DIVISION III ROUNDUP
At the NCAA Division III Midwest regional in Rock Island, Illinois Saturday, Roosevelt HS grad Lucy Cheadle (above/photo courtesy Washington University) of Washington University in St. Louis took the victory, running 21:32 over the 6k course…
In the West regional meet in Claremont, California, Whitworth finished third in the women's race with a score of 112 points, while Whitman was fifth with 167.
Puget Sound was tenth with 265, and Pacific Lutheran was 14th with 410 points.
Kathryn Flyte, a senior at UPS finished fifth in the 6k race in 22:21.
Whitworth will await whether or not they'll advance to nationals as an at-large team
The men's race saw Puget Sound finish seventh with 230, followed by Whitman in eighth at 235, and Whitworth 12th with 306.
T.C. Heydon of Whitman was the top finisher from a Washington school in 21st in 26:02 over 8k.