Three Mountain West Conference teams and five individuals will represent the league at the 2010 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships to be held Monday, Nov. 22, in Terre Haute, Ind.
Heading to Indiana:
The New Mexico men's and women's teams each received automatic bids to the NCAA Championship after earning first-place honors, respectively, at the Mountain Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 13, in Salt Lake City, Utah. On the men's side, BYU received an at-large berth to the championship after finishing third in the 10K race at the Mountain Regionals.
Air Force's Jeremy Drenckhahn and Justin Tyner, BYU's Kate Bowen, TCU's Festus Kigen and Utah's Amanda Mergaert also were selected to compete individually at the NCAA Championships after posting standout performances at their respective regional meets.
Over the past 11 years, the MWC has won three NCAA team titles and one individual crown. BYU's women's cross country team claimed NCAA Championships in 1999, 2001 and 2002, respectively. On the men's side, BYU's Josh Rohatinsky collected first-place honors at the 2006 NCAA Championship, clocking a 10K time of 30:44.90.
How They Got There:
The Lobo men's squad received an automatic bid to NCAAs after finishing first as a team at the Mountain Regionals. Senior Keith Gerrard led New Mexico, finishing fourth (29:45.9) in the 10K race. Fellow Lobo runners David Bishop (29:58.4), Rory Fraser (30:01.9) and Ross Millington (30:04.0) finished fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, to help the Lobos earn their highest finish ever at a regional run.
BYU's Miles Batty, the 2010 MWC Men's Runner of the Year, finished second overall in the 10K (29:30.1) to lead his team to a third-place finish at the Mountain Regional.
Tyner, who placed 10th at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships with a time of 30:11.9, earned an automatic selection as one of the top four finishers not on an automatically qualifying team. Drenckhahn's 13th-place finish (30:17.3) at the regional meet also moved him into an automatic berth for the NCAA Championships The two selections mark the most Air Force representatives at the national championship meet since the Falcons sent a full squad to the 2004 NCAA Championships.
Kigen will make his third NCAA Cross Country Championship appearance after being named was the South Central Region Male Athlete of the Year. The Eldoret, Kenya, native became the first male in TCU history to win a regional title, clocking a time of 30:11.1 to win the 10K event last weekend.
On the women's side, New Mexico earned an automatic bid after earning the team title at the Mountain Regional. The Lobos held off second-place Texas Tech, 55-53, by placing three runners in the top six, and five in the race's top 20. New Mexico's Natalie Gray (20:28.6), Sarah Waldron (20:30.8) and Ruth Senior (20:32.9) paced the Lobos, finishing the race third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Bowen finished 12th in the 6K race at the Mountain Regional, recording a time of 20:50.7 to earn an individual invite to the NCAA Championships.
Mergaert earned a ninth-place finish at the Mountain Regional, clocking a personal-best time of 20:45.2 to also qualify for the NCAA Championships.
How They Were Chosen:
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 at-large selections. Thirty-eight individuals were 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.
Follow the Action:
Indiana State University will host the NCAA Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind. The women's race will begin at approximately 10:08 a.m. MT, followed by the men's race at approximately 10:48 a.m. MT.
To follow along as all of your favorite MWC runners compete at the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships, click HERE to view a live webcast of the event on NCAA.com starting at 10 a.m. MT.
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