XC Sets Their Focus to Regionals
Nov. 11, 2015
WHAT: The Boise State cross country team will head to Seattle, Wash., this Friday, Nov. 13 to compete in the NCAA West Regional in hopes of securing a top-two team finish and automatically earning a bid to the NCAA National Championships next weekend in Louisville, Ky. The top four individuals not on qualifying teams will also earn automatic bids to nationals.
With nine regions across the country, a total of 18 teams and 36 individuals will receive auto bids to nationals. For the teams and individuals who don't automatically qualify, there will be official at-large selections made by the NCAA on Saturday that will include 13 additional teams and two individuals. If the Broncos aren't to automatically qualify, they should know by Friday evening if they qualified to nationals by looking at the Kolas points they have accumulated over the course of the season.
The women will still run their usual 6-kilometer race, while the men's race will lengthen to 10-kilometers.
WHERE: The race will take place at the Jefferson Park Golf Course. The course itself will feature multiple 2-kilometer loops on flat fairways. Friday's forecast calls for a high of 55 degrees and a low of 49 with rain and consistent 15 mile-per-hour winds.
WHEN: The women will go off at 1 p.m. (MT), and the men will race afterwards at 2 p.m. (MT).
WHO: There are 32 men's teams and 37 women's teams in the field. The Bronco women's team (ranked No. 9 nationally) enters the weekend as the No. 2 team and the men's team (ranked No. 24 nationally) is No. 5 in the West.
According to the women's regional rankings, No. 1 Oregon - runner-up at the Pac-12 Championships - holds the top spot in the field. No. 3 Stanford and Pac-12 Individual Champion Aisling Cuffe are ranked behind the Broncos, and host No. 4 Washington should also contend for the title as well.
On the men's side, it's a similar bunch of Pac-12 teams that occupy the four spots ahead of Boise State in the regional rankings. No. 1 Stanford is the favorite after taking second at the Pac-12 Championships, Oregon and two-time NCAA Champion Edward Cheserek are No. 2, Washington comes in at No. 3 and UCLA enters the meet at No. 4.
LAST YEAR AT THE NCAA WEST REGIONALS: The women's team made history last year when they tied for second with Stanford and won the head-to-head tiebreaker to earn the automatic qualifying bid, giving the women's team their first trip to nationals in school history. Emma Bates took second and Marisa Howard placed fifth to pace the Broncos to their 103-point day. Boise State was ranked as the No. 5 team in the West Region entering the weekend, defying projections and shaking up the NCAA cross country scene.
The men took eighth and were led by Andrew Rafla (11th place) and David Elliott (19th place). The Broncos latter four finishers all will race on Friday with NCAA West Regional experience in their pocket; Michael Vennard (58th), Louis McAfee (59th), Dan Oekerman (77th) and Rhys Park (107th).
MOUNTAIN WEST ACCOLADES: At the Mountain West Championships almost two weeks ago in Reno, Nev., the Broncos came away with a second and third-place team finish on the women's and men's sides, respectively. Allie Ostrander won the race with a 21:49.97 on the 6-kilometer course, giving her Mountain West Athlete of the Year, Freshman of the Year and first team All-Mountain West honors. Brenna Peloquin (Eighth place - 22:56.17) and Anna Holdiman (11th - 23:28.56) also earned second team All-MW honors with their performances.
Michael Vennard was the top finisher for the men, taking fifth (26:40.37) for first team All-MW honors. Elijah Armstrong turned in his best performance of the fall, taking ninth with a time of 27:00.70 for second team All-MW and Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors. Chandler Austin (27:03.56) and Rhys Park (27:07.28) took 12th and 14th place, respectively, giving the pair second team All-MW honors.
INDIVIDUAL HISTORY AT REGIONALS: Emma Bates is the only Boise State athlete to win a NCAA West Regional title in school history. Bates ran a 19:11 in 2013 in Fresno, Calif., crushing her previous best 6-kilometer time by 58 seconds. Forest Braden recorded the top finish on the men's side in school history, taking fifth with a 30:28.00 in 2004.
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