The Toledo women’s cross country team earned an at-large bid to compete in the NCAA Championship Meet, the NCAA announced Sunday.The Rockets scored 84 points to place third in the Great Lakes Region Championship Saturday at Ottawa Park.
The feat marks the second consecutive season — and second time in program history — that the UT women have qualified for NCAAs as a team.
“We were patient all year,” said Head Coach Kevin Hadsell. “With us getting a slow start to the season, we never veered from our training and our goals. We didn’t get anxious in the training and that’s a big reason for our continued improvement from meet to meet.”
The Rockets were paced by senior Emma Kertesz, who finished seventh with a time of 20:42.6. The second through fourth UT finishers came across the line one after another as junior Kaylin Belair (16th place, 21:02.6), senior Ari Fisher (17th place, 21:04.5) and sophomore Megan Vogelsong (18th place, 21:05.6) joined Kertesz on the All-Great Lakes Region Team.
The squad’s fifth runner, junior Kristal Studer, just missed all-region honors, placing 26th with a time of 21:18.2.
Freshman Priscilla Timmons was the team’s sixth and final runner, placing 60th with a time of 21:56.6.
Michigan (45 points) and Michigan State (77 points) placed first and second, respectively, and automatically qualified for the championship meet.
The NCAA at-large bid marks another accomplished goal for the Rockets, as they set their pre-season sights on a second consecutive Mid-American Conference title and a top-three regional finish. The outcome of their final team goal — to place among the top 20 teams in the nation — will be determined in Terre Haute, Ind., Monday, Nov. 21.
“I am so proud of our entire program,” Hadsell said. “We have 30 of the hardest-working and most genuine women that I have ever met. They have really taken ownership of their careers and that’s an important emotional step toward developing.
“To earn back-to-back bids further validates that we have something special at Toledo. We are competitive with the best programs in the country and have really established a tradition of success.”