For just the fourth time in school history, and second time this century, the Hillsdle College women's cross country team qualified for the NCAA national meet as a team, thanks to a terrific performance at the Midwest Regional Meet, held in Kenosha, Wisc. Saturday afternoon.
The Chargers placed third in a very competitive field, with 132 points. Grand Valley State won the regional easily with 42 points, followed by Saginaw Valley State with 103. Lewis was the lone GLVC team in the top five, finishing fourth with 174 points, followed by Northern Michigan, rounding out the top five teams.
Making it to regionals as a team is exciting for any program, but particularly so for the youthful Chargers. Two sophomores and two freshmen were the team's top four runners at the meet, and they all finished in the top 33 overall. That kind of high-end depth was a key factor in the team being able to crack the top three at the meet.
"We're very proud of all of our young ladies today," said head coach Andrew Towne. "They gave great effort. And, while we are excited to qualify for the NCAA Championships for just the 4th time in school history, we're not satisfied with just qualifying- we want to have our best performance of the year in Spokane. This is just the beginning for our team and our entire Cross Country/Track & Field program."
Sophomore Emily Oren (pictured) race through the challenging course in 22:10, good for 16th overall at the meet. Fellow sophomore Kristina Galat turned in an outstanding race, finishing just two spots behind her teammate with a time of 22:12.
Freshman Julia Bos was 30th in her first NCAA regional with a time of 22:35. Emily Oren's younger sister Molly, who joined the team midway through the season, delivered a clutch 33rd-place finish with a time of 22:41.
Senior captain Victoria McCaffrey, fittingly, helped wrap up the national bid with a time of 22:43, fifth on the team and 35th overall.
The NCAA Division II national cross country championships will be held in Spokane, Wash. on Saturday, Nov. 23.