Hillsdale - NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships Preview

Hillsdale - NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships Preview

Provided by Hillsdale

There will be a healthy contingent of Hillsdale College cross country runners venturing south to Louisville, Kentucky this weekend to participate in the 2014 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships.

The event is part of the NCAA's Fall Festival, which is an event that includes championships in soccer, volleyball and cross country in the same city. Bellarmine University, located in Louisville, is acting as the host school for the Fall Fesitval.

The men's championship race starts at 11 a.m., with the women's race to follow at 12:15 p.m.

Senior Joshua Mirth is the lone representative of the Charger men's cross country program, and will run the final race of his terrific career. He easily qualified to run in nationals thanks to his third-place finish at the Midwest Regional Meet, held two weeks ago in Evansville, Indiana. He completed the 10K race in 30:33, which was just 8 seconds off the lead.

Mirth has been consistently excellent throughout his career, running as Hillsdale's lead runner more often than not over the past three years. Given his pedigree and his performance, he is a real threat to earn All-American honors for his program this weekend.

The Hillsdale College women's cross country team will be there in full this weekend, having qualified for the national meet as a team for the second consecutive year. The Chargers are ranked fifth in the nation and finished in second place at the Midwest Regional Meet in Evansville two weeks ago.

Junior Emily Oren leads this talented group, which contains no seniors. Oren was named the regional meet champion, and was named the Midwest Region Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Three other Chargers - Kristina Galat, Hannah McIntyre and Molly Oren - all finished in the top 25 at regionals and netted All-Region honors.

The Chargers have been one of the elite programs all season, and finally broke through into the top five in the national poll following their second-place finish at regionals. McIntyre was the GLIAC Freshman of the Year and Galat has really stepped up her performance peak and consistency level in her junior year. Galat finished eighth at the regional meet.

The four teams ranked ahead of Hillsdale heading into the national championships are Grand Valley State, Adams State, Minnesota-Duluth and Augustana.

The links at the top of this release reveal the championship home webpages as well as the live results link, which will go live Saturday morning.