WVU cross country heads to nationals

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Photo: WVU Athletics

The West Virginia University cross country team travels to the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Florida, at Apalachee Regional Park, on Saturday, November 12.  

The women’s championship 6k race is scheduled for 10:20 a.m. ET, followed by the men’s race at 11:10 a.m. Live results from the meet will be available at WVUsports.com. 

“We are both honored and excited to be part of this incredible race,” coach Sean Cleary said. “A week ago, we went into the regional meet knowing that if we executed our race plan properly, and had a good day, we would end up qualifying for this meet. The same is true for tomorrow. Our women need to step on the line, believe in themselves and take advantage of this opportunity. At the NCAA Championships, no miracles are needed. We need to get out there, run our race, compete to the very last step and let the clips fall where they do.” 

Florida State serves as host for the first time in program history. The Mountaineers last saw action at Florida States Apalachee Regional Park when the team participated in the FSU Winter Classic on February 5, 2020. The team finished 6th place overall at the meet.  

West Virginia returns to the NCAA Championships as a team for the second consecutive year. WVU has seen action at Nationals 11 times since 1997. Most recently, WVU participated in the 2020 NCAA Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma, finishing in 29th place.  

The Mountaineers last competed at the 2021 Mid-Atlantic Regional on November 12. Junior Ceili McCabe was named the Mid-Atlantic Regional Champion following a first-place finish in a time of 20:05.7. Senior Sylvia Russell was behind her, placing 14th, with a time of 20:49, while redshirt junior Katherine Dowie finished in 16th in a time of 20:53.2. Redshirt junior Mikaela Lucki finished the race in 20:54.0, good for 17th, and fifth-year senior Hayley Jackson rounded out the Mountaineers in the top 25 after crossing the line in 21:00.4, good for 19th.  

The Mountaineers saw five top-25 finishes and earned five all-region honors, which are the most for the squad since 2019 when Jackson, McCabe and Candace Archer were named to All-Mid-Atlantic Region. 

In all, 31 teams are set to compete at the national meet, with 18 automatic bids (top-two teams in each of the nine regions) and 13 at-large bids. 

Additionally, a total of 38 individual runners were selected to compete at nationals following team qualifications. The top-four finishers at each regional from non-qualifying teams received an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, as long as they finished in the top 25 at the regional meet. Two at-large bids in a national pool of top-25 finishers were also selected. 

For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVUXCTF on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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