WASHINGTON – The postseason portion of the 2017 American University cross country continues this week as the Eagles travel to Bethlehem, Pa., for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Championship on Friday, Nov. 10.
Events at the Goodman Cross Country Course will start at 10:45 a.m. with the women's 6,000m race, followed by the men's 10,000m race at 11:45 a.m.
ABOUT THE MEET
The Eagles will face five fellow-Patriot League teams at the regional meet with Bucknell, Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola Maryland, and Navy. The women will also face three nationally-ranked programs with No. 9 Villanova, No. 19 Penn State, and No. 27 Georgetown all set to take the line.
Both the teams enter the meet after making a resurgence in the regional rankings. The men had their highest appearance on the USTFCCCA (U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) Mid-Atlantic rankings since 2014 after coming in at 11th midway through the season. They have since bumped up to No. 8 in the region, making this their highest ranking since they landed at fourth during the preseason release in 2013.
The women have also reached new heights in the USTFCCCA regional rankings release, appearing in the top 15 for the first time since 2013 with the No. 13 slot a few weeks ago. The team hit a new season-high after the Patriot League Championship and will enter the regional meet ranked 12th.
NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFICATION
The regional championship meets also serve as the qualifiers for the NCAA Championships, held on Nov. 18 in Louisville, Ky. The top-two teams from each region will earn automatic bids into the championship meet, along with 13 at-large teams from across the country. The top 38 individuals from across the country will also be selected to compete after the qualifying teams have been determined.
Click here for a full breakdown of the qualification process.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
This will be the third time this season that the team has made the trek up to Lehigh after the teams competed at the Paul Short Run in September and the Patriot League Championship in October. Both meets produced exciting results for the Eagles, including 12 personal record (PR) performances during Paul Short and a set of All-Patriot League finishes during the conference meet.
On the men's side, AU is coming off a fourth-place finish at the PL Championship two weeks ago behind the First Team All-Patriot League finish of senior Alaeldin Tirba, who guided the squad with a sixth-place finish. This was the highest individual finish on the men's side since 2012 when Mark Allen crossed in second overall before going on to qualify for the NCAA Championship.
Both Rainey and Doiron have shared leading roles for the men's team throughout the season. Rainey took the helm during the Navy Invitational while Doiron led the Eagles at the Mount St. Mary's Duals and Paul Short Invitational.
The women are also coming off a memorable Patriot League Championship meet behind the First Team All-Patriot League finish of junior Adriana Hooks, who crossed in fourth overall for the highest individual finish for the Eagles since 2010.
Freshmen Shelbi Wuss (21:55.43) and Nadia Stratton (22:03.46) both finished in the top 20 of the field to help lead the Eagles to a sixth-place finish, followed by the scoring efforts of seniors Brianna Belo (22:26.12) and Jude Mabone (22:47.50).
Hooks has been a consistent leader on the course for the Eagles, while Wuss, Stratton, Belo, Mabone, junior Kassidy Ayres, and sophomores Arianna Lopez and Kaitlyn McTernan have all shared the other four scoring positions.
For the latest on AU Cross Country, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_TrackXC.