Toledo, OH - The Toledo women's cross country team earned an at-large bid to compete in the NCAA championship meet, the NCAA announced on Sunday. The Rockets scored 84 points to place third in the Great Lakes Region championship meet on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Ottawa Park.
The feat marks the second-consecutive season, and second time in program history, that the UT women have qualified for NCAAs as a team.
"We were patient all year," said head coach Kevin Hadsell. "With us getting a slow start to the season, we never veered from our training and our goals. We didn't get anxious in the training and that's a big reason for our continued improvement from meet-to-meet."
The Rockets were paced by senior Emma Kertesz, who finished seventh-place with a time of 20:42.6. The second-through-fourth UT finishers came across the line one after another, as junior Kaylin Belair (16th place; 21:02.6), senior Ari Fisher (17th place; 21:04.5) and sophomore Megan Vogelsong (18th place; 21:05.6) joined Kertesz on the All-Great Lakes Region Team. The squad's fifth runner, junior Kristal Studer, just missed all-region honors, placing 26th with a time of 21:18.2.
Freshman Priscilla Timmons was the team's sixth and final runner, placing 60th with a time of 21:56.6.
Michigan (45 points) and Michigan State (77 points) placed first and second, respectively, and automatically qualified for the championship meet.
The NCAA at-large bid marks another accomplished goal for the Rockets, as they set their pre-season sights on a second-consecutive Mid-American Conference title and a top-three regional finish. The outcome of their final team goal, to place among the top-20 teams in the nation, will be determined in Terre Haute, IN on Monday, Nov. 21.
"I am so proud of our entire program," Hadsell continued. "We have 30 of the hardest-working and most genuine women that I have ever met. They have really taken ownership of their careers and that's an important emotional step towards developing.
"To earn back-to-back bids further validates that we have something special at Toledo. We are competitive with the best programs in the country and have really established a tradition of success."
- Toledo set MAC records this year for the lowest point total at both the MAC Championships (33 points) and the NCAA Regional Championships (84 points).
- Toledo became the first team in MAC history to earn back-to-back berths at the NCAA Championships. Only three other MAC schools have ever qualified for the NCAAs and each of them have only done it once.
- At the Regional Championships, the Rockets had five of the top-26 runners. Michigan and Michigan State only had four runners each in that time.
- Senior Ari Fisher is making her third-consecutive NCAA appearance. No MAC female has ever accomplished that feat.
Contact: Brad Pettiford
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