MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Hoping to qualify for nationals for the fourth time in five years, the No. 13 West Virginia cross country team competes at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Saturday, Nov. 12, in Princess Anne, Md.
Hosted by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the 6k women’s race will take place at 1:15 p.m. when the Mountaineers will face No. 2 Villanova, No. 7 Georgetown, No. 22 Penn State, Princeton and the majority of the BIG EAST mixed in with other regional programs.
“We are up against one of the best regional fields in the country and are looking to earn a spot at nationals,” says WVU coach Sean Cleary. “With Villanova and Georgetown having been ranked No. 1 in the country at different points of the year and Penn State and Princeton gaining momentum, this will be a great race. Finishing in the top two guarantees us a spot, while fourth and fifth place will only put us in the pool for at-large consideration.”
The starting lineup for the Mountaineers will be Kate Harrison, Kaitlyn Gillespie, Sarah-Anne Brault, Ahna Lewis,Kaylyn Christopher, Stephanie Aldea and Jordan Hamric. Earlier in the year, the Mountaineers became familiar with the course with a second-place mark at the UMES Lid-Lifter Invitational on Sept. 3.
“Having raced on the course allows us to have a mental picture of what we will expect on Saturday,” Cleary says. “This is a very flat course. I expect to see a tactical race from the gun with all the top teams watching each other to see who makes a move.”
Last year, the Mountaineers came in fifth place at the regional with 152 points, led by NCAA qualifiers Gillespie and Brault, who finished in 11th and 16th place, respectively, to earn all-region honors. Villanova, Georgetown, Penn State and Princeton finished ahead of WVU at the 2010 race.
“Preparations have gone well for Saturday,” Cleary says. “We have the opportunity to run our best race of the season. There is a great deal of experience on this team; I trust them and they trust themselves.”
Results from the meet will be posted on MSNsportsNET.com and Runnerspace.com
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The women’s 6k course map can be viewed here