Friday, November 3, 2017

Washington's Division II schools head to Monmouth for NCAA D2 West Regionals Saturday...

For Washington’s four NCAA Division II teams—Western Washington, Central Washington, Saint Martin’s, and Seattle Pacific, the 2017 cross country season either ends this Saturday in Monmouth, Oregon, or two weeks from Saturday in Evansville, Indiana, as Western Oregon University hosts the NCAA Division II West Regional cross country championships at Ash Creek Preserve.

The top three teams from the eight regionals contested around the country automatically advance to the nationals in Evansville, with an additional eight at-large berths added by the NCAA Division II cross country committee.

The West region, considered one of the strongest regions, could potentially send five or more teams per gender to nationals. The West has six men’s and women’s teams each ranked in the current USTFCCCA national top 25.

Of the four Washington schools, the Western Washington men’s squad, which was ranked #23 in the country before finishing fourth in the GNAC championship meet in Bellingham two weeks ago, has the best chance of advancing to nationals, though they will have to leapfrog at least one of the six nationally ranked teams in the West—Chico State, Cal Baptist, Cal Poly Pomona, and GNAC foes Western Oregon, Alaska Anchorage, and Simon Fraser, if it wants to finish the season in Indiana.

Western will be led by Jadon Olson (left/photo by Paul Merca), who finished sixth at the GNACs two weeks ago.

On the women’s side, it will be a difficult task for any one of the four Washington schools to qualify for the national championships, though Seattle Pacific’s Mary Charleson, the GNAC runner-up, has a solid chance to qualify as an individual.

The top two individuals from non-qualifying teams automatically qualify for the national championships. Individuals who finish in the top five at the regionals automatically qualify for nationals. Eight at-large berths from the eight regional meets are also given by the committee using a formula.

The women’s 6k race gets underway at 10 am, while the mens’ 10k starts at 11:15 am.

NOTE:  The GNAC, and the Western Oregon sports information office contributed to this report.

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