St. Peter, Minn. – For the first time in eight years, the Gustavus women’s cross country team is set to compete in the NCAA Championships. After finishing in a tie for fourth place last weekend at the NCAA Central Region Championships, the Gusties were selected as one of 16 at-large teams to compete in the 32-team Championship field this weekend. The team traveled to Terre Haute, Ind. yesterday in preparation for tomorrow’s race, which is set to begin at 12:00 p.m.
Last weekend at the NCAA Central Region Championships, the Gusties tied with Carleton for fourth with a total of 136 points. Wartburg won the race with 72 points, while St. Olaf finished second with 95 and Luther finished third with 121 points. Gustavus tallied four All-Region runners, an honor that is given to the first 35 runners to cross the finish line.
The four All-Region honorees were led by Rebecca Hare (So., Albany, Minn.) with a 13th place finish for the Black and Gold. The sophomore crossed the line in 22:53.5 to achieve the first All-Region honor of her collegiate career. Beth Hauer (Sr., Little Falls, Minn.) followed Hare in 16th in a time of 23:00.5 for her third consecutive All-Region finish.
Caitlin Fermoyle (So., Mendota Heights, Minn.) and Kate Eggers (Sr., Montevideo, Minn.) finished one after another in 20th and 21st, respectively, to round out the Gustavus top four. Fermoyle ran to a time of 23:12.6 while Eggers ended her race in 23:12.8. It was Fermoyle’s first All-Region honor compared to Eggers’ three All-Region finishes.
“Our goal at regionals was to move on,” stated head coach Dale Bahr. “We reached that goal and got to nationals. Now the focus changes to doing well at the national meet. We are focusing on putting together our best race one more time.”
The Gusties enter the weekend ranked 25th in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Coaches’ Poll. One of five teams from the region to be selected for the national meet, the Gusties are among four region teams ranked in the top 25. Wartburg sits at No. 8 in the poll while St. Olaf ranks in at No. 13 and Luther finds its spot at No. 21.
The Gustavus women are headed back to the NCAA Championships for the third time in school history, and the first time since 2003 when they placed 12th in a field of 24 teams. Kate Eggers knows that this opportunity does not come easy, and explains it is a chance that is not taken for granted.
“Some of us have been waiting four years to get this opportunity,” Eggers mentioned. “It has been a goal since we started running at Gustavus, so we are excited beyond belief to tear up the course this weekend. We have come together to race as a team this year, and are determined to make our mark at nationals.”
“Our women have the exact attitude we want to have right now,” finished coach Bahr. “The focus is there. Everyone is relaxed and ready to go. It has been a great atmosphere and it should be a great experience.”
Live video will be provided via NCAA.com.