NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals Await Women’s Cross Country
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy women’s cross country team heads back to Bethlehem, Pa. and Lehigh University for the third time this season as the squad races Friday morning in the 2017 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship. Looking to qualifying for the national NCAA Championship next weekend, the Mids will take on 28 regional foes at Lehigh’s Goodman Campus 6k Cross Country Course beginning at 10:45 a.m. in hopes of securing a top-two finish.
Should the team not nab one of the two automatic bids, there are also a limited number of at-large team selections and at-large individual selections that are determined following the regional meets from across the NCAA Division I landscape. The top-four individuals from each regional not on a qualifying team are automatically selected, while any other finisher in the top 25 is placed into the at-large national pool as a potential at-large individual.
This will be the 13th straight year that the Mids have competed at the NCAA Regional Meet. The team’s best finish during that span is a seventh in 2012.
Last year racing at Penn State, the Mids placed 13th overall. Navy used a pack mentality and saw all five of its scorers finish in the top 98. Erin McDonnell was the team’s top individual finisher in 54th place at 21:57. Amongst returning runners in this year’s meet, Allison Parks (87th, 22:24) and Ali Valent (98th, 22:38) finish in the top five for Navy.
Prior to Friday’s meet, Navy has run twice before on the Goodman Campus in 2017 at the Paul Short Invitational on Sept. 29 and the Patriot League Championship on Oct. 28. Two weeks ago behind a sixth-place finish by Ali Valenti, the Mids posted a team score of 88 points to rank third out of 10 teams in the league. While Valenti’s time of 21:28.47 led the Mids, Emily Craig and Grace West were close behind in 10th and 11th place at 21:41.41 and 21:42.09, repectively.
Navy is currently ranked ninth in the latest USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Poll. This year’s championship field includes all 15 teams that are ranked in the poll with Patriot League foes, Bucknell (6), Lehigh (11) and American (12) amongst those in that top-15. Villanova, Penn State and Georgetown hold the top-three positions.
Last Five Mid-Atlantic Regionals
2016: 13th of 28
2015: 10th of 30
2014: 9th of 29
2013: 10th of 29
2012: 7th of 31