The Ferris State University women's cross country team qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships by placing third overall in the 2008 NCAA-II Midwest Regional Championships held Saturday (Nov. 8) on its own course at Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids, Mich.
FSU tallied 111 total points and narrowly edged Southern Indiana by two points for the final team qualifying berth as the top three women's teams advanced to the national championships slated for Saturday, Nov. 22, at Slippery Rock, Pa. Southern Indiana had been ranked fifth nationally in the most recent United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Rankings heading into the meet.
Grand Valley State captured the women's regional crown with 35 points followed by Wayne State in second place (90).
The regional event, which was hosted by Ferris State, drew nearly 300 competitors and included men's and women's teams from more than 20 institutions. All-Region awards were presented to the top 15 finishers in both the men's and women's races.
Wayne State's Rachelle Malette claimed the women's overall regional title as she placed first in the 132-runner field in a time of 21:19.1 on the 6K course. Megan Maceratini of Grand Valley State placed second (21:31.8), Wisconsin-Parkside's took third place (21:33.6), Mary Ballinger of Southern Indiana finished fourth (21:49.5) and Ferris State sophomore Tina Muir (St. Albans, United Kingdom) was fifth (21:56.8).
FSU senior Mikinzie Stuart (Saginaw/Nouvel Catholic) placed 12th overall (22:41.6), sophomore Megan Josey (Spring Lake) came in 23rd (23:31.1), sophomore Paige Onweller (Lapeer/East) took 35th place (23:44.9) and senior Jackie Green (Portage/Northern) finished 39th (23:50.0). Sophomores Sarah Creed (Saginaw/Swan Valley) and Nikki Wiers (Allendale) also competed for FSU and placed 91st (25:13.7) and 93rd (25:18.3), respectively.
Grand Valley State netted 45 points in earning the men's overall title. Wayne State and Southern Indiana tied for second place (102) and Ashland finished fourth (108). Ferris State's men's team came in 17th overall with 436 points.
In the men's race, Grand Valley State's Chris Hammer was the individual champion. He completed the 10K course in a time of 31:52.8 to outdistance second-place finisher Jaime Villa Zapatero of Drury (31:53.6). Wayne State's Abdullah Saleh picked up third place honors (31:59.9), Bryan Phillips of Southern Indiana was fourth (32:07.7) and Hillsdale's Tim Jagielski placed fifth (32:07.7) among the 130 men's finishers.
Ferris freshman Tyler Crossman (Rapid River) led the Bulldogs with a 47th-place effort (33:36.3). Sophomore Alex Best (Alma/St. Louis) was 88th (34:42.3), senior Mike Mangieri (Big Rapids) placed 90th (34:43.1), junior Matt Jozwiak (Berkley) came in 99th (34:58.8), junior Brian Reynolds (Kalamazoo/Otsego) took 112th place (35:35.2), junior Darby Davila (Bay City/Central) netted 114th place (35:52.4) and freshman Ethan Earnest (Big Rapids) finished 127th (38:11.5).
The top four teams in the men's division along with top three women's teams plus the top two individuals not associated with one of the qualifying teams earned bids to the 28th annual NCAA Division II Championships. The women's 6K national championship race is slated for 1:15 p.m. (EST) on Nov. 22 and will take place at Cooper's Lake Campground in Slippery Rock, Pa.
Ferris' women's team entered the regional meet listed fifth in this week's USTFCCCA Midwest Regional Rankings, but moved past two nationally top-20 ranked teams in Southern Indiana and Wisconsin-Parkside to place third overall at the event. The Bulldogs are guided by interim head coach and former Bulldog men's standout Steve Picucci.
This year's third place regional effort was the program's best showing since an identical third-place finish at the 1990 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Championships. It represents only the third time in history the Bulldog women's cross country team has qualified as a team for the national championships and will be the program's first appearance since 1987. Ferris claimed Great Lakes Regional crowns in both 1981 and 1987 to advance to the NCAA-II Championships where they placed eighth and 11th overall, respectively.
Former FSU All-American Jenny Irwin was the most recent Bulldog to compete individually at the national championships and became the first female women's cross country All-American in Bulldog history with a 20th-place finish in 2005 at Pomona, Calif. Her performance also marked the highest finish ever for a FSU women's performer at the Division II Women's Cross Country Championships.
Complete results can be found at the link below: