Two Utah Runners Receive At-Large Invites To NCAA Championships
from Utah Sports Information.
Nov. 18, 1999
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's Travis Hildebrand and Johanna Nielsen were given at-large invitations to compete in the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 22 in Bloomington, Ind. Along with Chris Merkley who qualified last Saturday by placing seventh (30:32) at the Mountain Regional, the Utah cross country team will send three runners to the national championships.
Individual invitations were given to the top four finishers at last week's Mountain Regional who were not members of the top two placing teams. At-large team invitations were given by the NCAA Monday morning which made room for Hildebrand and Nielsen.
Hildebrand made the cut after Brigham Young, Northern Arizona and Weber State were given at-large invitations in the men's division. Hildebrand placed 12th in the 10k with a time of 31:14 at the Mountain Regional. Nielsen was invited after Northern Arizona was given an at-large invitation on the women's side. She placed seventh in the 5k at the Mountain Regional with a time of 17:30, which was just one second off and one place behind an automatic invitation. But, with NAU's at-large invitation, Nielsen became the third individual taken.
The first 30 Americans to cross the finish line will be named All-America. "I think Johanna, Chris and Travis all have a good chance to earn all-America," says Head Coach Mike Jones. "They will continue to train hard this week and I think they will have an excellent opportunity."