Cross country shapes up for postseason

posted in: Fall, Sports | 0

It’s that time of year for colder climates, wetter weather and an earlier darkness because of the end to daylight savings.

Running outside is one of the last things someone would want to do, but for some Pacific University Athletes, that is exactly what they are doing.

After a season of hard running, the Pacific University Cross Country Teams are gearing up to finish strong with the NCAA Division III West Regional Championships.

The regional meet will take place Nov. 16 at Pomona-Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif.

Following regionals a week later is the NCAA Division III National Championships on Nov. 23 in Hanover, Ind.

There are a few ways that both the men and women runners are able to qualify for the national meet.

In each regional meet, the two top teams in each of the men and women’s races will earn automatic qualifying bids.

An additional 16 teams will qualify with at-large berths that are selected by a committee.

At-large bids will be primarily based on a team’s finish at their regional meet.

Along with the team qualifiers, the top seven finishers in each regional meet for men and women that are not affiliated with a qualifying team will earn a national berth.

Based on the fact that both Pacific’s Cross Country Teams are young and haven’t had the most ideally satisfying results this season, it will be a tough stretch for the Boxers to earn the team qualifying bids for the nationals meet.

With just three returning runners total from last year, the season has been a bit of a transition and a work in progress.

Most of the Boxer runners have seen improvements in their finishing times from the first meet of the season.

The Boxers do, however, have a very likely chance of still being represented at nationals with an individual qualifying berth.

Sophomore runner Tyler Shipley has been nothing but exceptional this season, finishing in the top two in three of the six men’s meets this season. His most recent and accomplished result: finishing second in the Northwest Conference Championships on Nov. 2, becoming the highest men’s placer at the NWC Championships since Roger Hansen won the meet in 1976.

Shipley, who earned First Team All-NWC Honors, is no stranger to this situation as he qualified for the national championships last year with a 16th place finish at the regionals meet, earning him the seventh and final individual berth.

“Being able to participate in the regional and national meets last year was an invaluable experience because I now know what to expect in these bigger meets,” said Shipley. “It really opened my eyes that I can be successful at this level. Last year, I was a bit overwhelmed by the atmosphere but I feel that I’m much more prepared.”

The NWC Championships took place Nov. 2 at the Downriver Golf Course in Spokane, Wash.

The Pacific men’s team finished in eighth place out of nine teams while the women’s team finished in ninth place out of nine teams.


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