Cross Country Begins Journey to NCAAs


By Abby Norman for WVUsports.com
November 08, 2012 03:32 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Coming off a strong fourth-place finish at the Big 12 Championships, the West Virginia University cross country team will travel to State College, Pa., for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional on Friday, Nov. 9, with the race slated to being at noon.

“Coming off the Big 12 Championships, we have actually progressed nicely, which is a very difficult thing to do at this time of the year in our sport,” coach Sean Cleary says. “Injuries, sicknesses and people getting tired, makes it hard to keep everyone moving forward. We are at least as good as we were at the Big 12 Championships or maybe better. That is a really good thing right before the race and I am happy with that.”

This is the first trip back to the Blue and White Golf Course for the Mountaineers since Sept. 8, when the team finished fourth at the Penn State Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational after having four runners finish in the top 25.

“We have always run well at Penn State over the years, so the girls are not getting blinded by the fact that we have a shot at making the NCAA Championships,” Cleary says. “We are actually excited that we have a place to go and put ourselves in a position to run the best races we have run all season. From there, let the chips fall where they may.”

In her first race of the season, senior Sarah-Anne Brault led the team at the Big 12 Championships on Oct. 27 with a 10th-place finish, a 6k time of 20:52.8, and All-Big 12 honors. This was the second year in a row that Brault received all-conference honors after finishing eighth at last year’s Big East Championships.

Freshman Kelly Williams was the next runner to finish for WVU, with a personal-best 6k time of 21:27.9, for a 19th-place finish and her second top-20 finish this season. The next five runners to cross the line for the Mountaineers also recorded personal-best 6k times for the season on the Jimmy Clay Golf Course in Austin, Texas.

At last year’s NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional meet, WVU finished in third place and had five runners finish in the top 25 and receive All-Region honors. The finish was good enough for the Mountaineers to earn an at-large bid to the 2011 NCAA Championships, where they finished eighth for the team’s fourth top-10 finish in the last five years.

Results from the race can be found at RunningSpace.com and will be posted on WVUsports.com shortly following the completion of the competition.



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