Sunday November 21, 2010Florida Cross Country Ready for NCAA Championships Monday
Terre Haute, Ind.
Photo by Cheryl Treworgy, PrettySporty.com
Terre Haute, Ind.
Photo by Cheryl Treworgy, PrettySporty.com
For the fifth consecutive year and 11th season in the history of the Florida cross country program, the Gator women’s cross country team is ready to take on the postseason. Monday afternoon at 12:08 p.m. (ET), Florida will take on the NCAA Championship Race at the Lavern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind., for the final women’s 6K race of the season. The women’s squad is joined in Indiana by men’s runner, Dumi Hlaselo (South Africa), who secured a South Region individual at-large bid following his fourth-place regional finish to become the first Florida men’s runner to compete at NCAAs since Jeremy Criscione was an All-American in 2008. The men’s 10K race will start at approximately 12:48 p.m. (ET) Monday. Live streaming of the event will be available on www.NCAA.com from approximately12-1:30 p.m. (ET). Details outlined below.
The No. 29 Gator women’s team will look to improve upon a program-best seventh-place finish at the 2009 NCAA Championship Meet. The finish marked UF’s first top-10 NCAA finish in program history. The Orange and Blue return three veteran racers from the 2009 team, All-Americans Rebecca Lowe (Vaucluse, Australia) and Charlotte Browning (Chichester, England), as well as 2010 top South Region finisher Genevieve LaCaze (Daisy Hill, Australia). Florida used three top-ten finishes and a second place overall team finish at the 2010 NCAA Cross Country South Regional in Birmingham, Ala., to automatically qualify as a team for the NCAA Championship. A total of four women were named to the All-South Region team, including freshman Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.), Browning, LaCaze and Lowe. LaCaze turned in the Gators’ fastest 6K race of the season as Florida’s top regional finisher (sixth), a career-best 20:06.10 and the third-fastest time in Gator history.
“I feel good about the outlook of the women’s team as far as how the season has progressed,” assistant track and cross country coach Todd Morgan stated at his weekly media availability leading up to NCAAs. “We’re bringing a lot of positives into the national meet, which is a good thing to have going after SECs and Regionals. Dumi has been a great front runner for us on the men’s side,” Morgan added. “He’s done a great job.”
At last year’s NCAA meet, Lowe crossed the finish line first for the Gators in 15th with Florida’s fastest-ever NCAA 6K mark, a 20:18.8. UF will look to place as many Gators in the top 40, All-America range as possible.
Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in each championship. The top two seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams. Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large. Thirty-eight individuals were selected to participate in each championship through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection process. All individual qualifiers finished in the top 25 in their region, including Hlaselo, who ran UF’s ninth-fastest South Regional 10K.
An All-South Region selection with his fourth-place overall finish at the NCAA South Region Championship Nov. 13, Hlaselo will be the first men’s individual to compete at the NCAA Championship meet in two years, as Jeremy Criscione became Florida’s seventh All-American in program history in 2008 with his 20th place overall finish. A South African native, Hlaselo turned in a time of 30:11.65 at the regional, UF’s fastest 10K of the season.
EVENT AND VIEWING INFORMATION
Indiana State University will play host to the Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. The women’s race will begin at approximately 12:08 p.m. ET, followed by the men’s race at approximately 12:48 p.m. For spectators attending the event, the public entrance to parking is located through the Swalls road entrance and the south entrance off of Tabertown Road. In addition, highlights from the championships will be included as part of the CBS NCAA Fall Seasonal Show scheduled to air on Sat., Dec. 18 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. ET on CBS HD.
Gator fans can watch NCAA.com’s live feed of the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championship races by visiting HERE Monday.
SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW
Three Southeastern Conference teams and eight student-athletes will participate in the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Alabama and Arkansas are automatic qualifiers on the men’s side, while Florida is an automatic qualifier on the women’s side.
The Crimson Tide won their fourth consecutive South Regional title to earn the automatic berth, while Arkansas earned their bid by winning the South Central Regional, the program’s 31st overall. The Gator women finished second in the South Regional to advance automatically.
Individually for the men, Florida’s Dumi Hlaselo, Ben Cheruiyot of Auburn, Michael Spooner of Tennessee and 2010 SEC Champion Barnabas Kirui of Ole Miss will also participate at the event. SEC Women’s Champion Kristie Krueger of Georgia, Auburn’s Hollie Knight, Vanderbilt’s Jordan White and Arkansas’ Miranda Walker will represent the league individually in the women’s race.
FLORIDA NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP NOTABLES AND QUICK HITS
Highest team finish – Seventh, 2009 (7th of 31 teams, 260 points)
Top NCAA finisher (place) – Shelly Steely, 2nd, 1984 (16:22.2 – 5K)
Fastest Florida NCAA Championship 6K (time, not place) – Rebecca Lowe, 20:18.8 (10/23/09)
Last year’s highest finisher (returning) – Rebecca Lowe, 15th (20:18.8)
Fastest 6K for the Gators this season – Genevieve LaCaze, 20:06.10, South Region Championship
Florida 6K record – Erin Merten, 19:44.04 (10/29/01)
Returning 2009 NCAA qualifiers and/or All-Americans –
Rebecca Lowe (15th) 20:18.8 (All-American)
Charlotte Browning (21st) 20:25.7 (All-American)
Genevieve LaCaze (96th) 21:16.1
Top NCAA finisher (place) – Tom Nohilly, 13th, 1988 (33:05)
Fastest Florida NCAA Championship 10K (time, not place) – Robert Blount, 29:19.67 (11/22/76; 30th place)
Last men’s NCAA top finisher – Jeremy Criscione, 20th, 2008 (29:55.9)
Fastest 10K for the Gators this season – Dumi Hlaselo, 30:11.65, NCAA South Region Championship
Florida 10K record – Keith Brantley, 29:19.2 (11/12/83)
Last men’s All-American – Jeremy Criscione (2008, also the last men’s squad member to compete at NCAAs)
2010 NCAA Cross Country Championship Schedule of Events
9 a.m. – Gates open for spectators
11:45 a.m. – Women called to start
11:50 a.m. – National Anthem
12:08 p.m. – Women’s Championship 6K
12:25 p.m. – Men called to start
12:48 p.m. – Men’s Championship 10K
1:45 p.m. – Presentation of awards