Hillsdale - NCAA Midwest Regional Cross Country Meet Preview

Hillsdale - NCAA Midwest Regional Cross Country Meet Preview

Provided by Hillsdale

Nov. 17—The Hillsdale College cross country teams are coming to the grand finale of the regular season, competing in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Meet in Evansville, Indiana Saturday with the hope of qualifying for the National Championships in December.

The men's team will compete at 10:30am and the women's race will begin at 11:45am on the campus of the University of Southern Indiana.

The teams competed on the course on Oct. 25 at the Southern Indiana Regional Preview, giving the Charger runners a good deal of familiarity with the course. The men's team (nationally ranked 11th at the time) took third overall, with senior Luke Hickman finishing 10th and with a time of 25:21.6. The women's team won the meet overall by a large margin and junior Emily Oren won the race with the time of 20:43.4 that earned her the title of USTFCCCA National Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Week as well as GLIAC Athlete of the Week.

The men's course will be slightly altered for the Regional meet compared to the Regional Preview, making the race 10K rather than the usual 8K. The women's course will remain a 6K meet.

The women's team enters the meet ranked seventh in the nation and has strong chances to continue into the national meet as a team. The men's team has recently fallen out of the national rankings, however, has maintained a solid season with top finishes individually and as a team.

By participating in the regional meet, both teams have the opportunity to advance to the national meet Dec. 6 in Louisville, Kentucky. The national meet takes only 32 teams total from each gender based on the results of the various Regional meets around the country. Each region receives a minimum of three teams to automatically qualify, with the remaining eight bids being determined by the results of the 2013 National Meet. This means, based on last season, the Midwest region will take four teams to Nationals this season, while the seven other bids are dispersed to other regions. Given these qualifications, both Chargers teams will have to finish at least 4th overall as a team in order to qualify for nationals.

Individual athletes can qualify for the National meet despite the team results. Per gender, there are 24 total bids to individuals whose team did not advance. There are 3 individuals given bids per region who had the top times of the athletes who did not qualify with their team.

The women's team has had much success this season as a team and individually and are looking to continue their pace. Junior Emily Oren has led the team with a season-best time coming from the Regional course on Oct. 25. She has marked steady improvement throughout the season, beginning her season with a time of 22:32 on Sept. 12.

Junior Kristina Galat has had a strong season, leading the team in the first two meets at the Spartan Invitational and the Notre Dame Invitational. Galat finished with her best time of the season (20:53.6) at the GLIAC Championship Nov. 8. Freshman Hannah McIntyre has had a huge first season, being named the GLIAC Freshman of the Year Nov. 8.

The men's team has also come up big this season and look to do it again on Saturday. The senior core, consisting of Joshua Mirth, Luke Hickman, and John Butler, has thus far led the team this season. Mirth reached his season-best time of 24:15.0 at the GLIAC Championship on Nov. 8, as did Butler and Hickman who broke his by 12 seconds.