On Saturday, Nov. 18, both Washington cross country teams will be in Louisville, Kentucky, to compete in the 2017 NCAA National Championships. The race will be hosted by the University of Louisville and will be held at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park.
The No. 22 women’s team earned its spot via an at-large bid after finishing in sixth at the Western Regionals. While it isn’t the place the team was hoping for, senior Amy-Eloise Neale finished in the top spot for the Huskies again, as she took third place.
Following an outstanding performance at the regionals, which saw the squad claim second place and automatic qualification, the Washington men jumped eight spots to No. 12 in the country. Seniors Colby Gilbert (fifth), Andrew Gardner (seventh), and sophomore Andrew Snyder (ninth) all finished in the top 10 while junior Mahmoud Moussa (18th) and freshman Tibebu Proctor (28th) rounded out the top five Husky finishers<CQ>. The Huskies fell to first-place Portland by two points.
Seeing that this is the national championships, the best programs from across the country will be competing. In the men’s race, which again will be 10K, the top 24 groups will all compete along with several other prestigious programs to complete the 31-team field. The same goes for the women’s race, which also sees 24 of the top 25 qualify for their 6K.
Moussa described how they have been preparing for the race.
“Since July 1, we’ve been training for [the 10K at nationals],” he said. “Lots of long tempos and hard long runs. The idea is to get two 10Ks in eight days so we can be sure that we are ready.”
Head coach Greg Metcalf was extremely proud of his runners getting to this point.
“This is why we do what we do,” he said. “Standing on the sideline at an NCAA Championship is why we work in the summer, why we do the long runs every Sunday, and why we make the sacrifices to get better along the way. It’s about getting to the starting line, putting yourself in that group, going out, and working hard.”
The women’s race is set to start at 10:45 a.m. EST, and the men’s will follow at 11:45 a.m.
Reach Contributing writer Andy Yamashita at email@example.com Twitter: @ANYamashita