Women's CC Headed To NCAA-II Nationals

Women's CC Headed To NCAA-II Nationals

Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally-ranked Ferris State University women's cross country team will take part in the NCAA Division II National Championships for the fourth-straight year on Saturday (Nov. 19) in Spokane, Wash.

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference and the Spokane Regional Sports Commission will co-host the national championships at Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane. The women's race will begin at 2 p.m. (ET) followed by the men's race at 3 p.m. (ET).

FSU, which is currently ranked ninth in the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II National Poll, secured a national championships berth by running to a runner-up team finish in the NCAA-II Midwest Regional Championships held Nov. 5 at FSU's Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids. The Bulldog women placed among the top three teams in the regional for the fourth-straight campaign to advance to nationals.

FSU totaled 106 points in placing behind regional champion Grand Valley State (29 points). Saginaw Valley State took third place (135) and Ashland was fourth (193) as the top four women's squads in the 24-team regional field advanced to the national championships.

The Bulldog women ran without their top two runners at the regional championships in senior Tina Muir and sophomore Samantha Johnson, who both did not compete due to injuries.

Junior Anna Rudd paced Ferris State as she finished second overall in a time of 21:35 on the 6K women's course to claim all-region accolades. The women's individual regional champion was Hillsdale's Amanda Putt, who finished the 6K course in a time of 21:26.4.

Bulldog junior Alyssa Osika took 10th place (22:20.8) and was followed by junior Shelby Janutol in the 16th spot (22:38.8) as both also claimed all-region laurels.

FSU sophomore Brittany Anderson came in 27th (23:05.6) while junior Felicia Slate captured 51st place (23:38.7), freshman Kristie LeSage took 71st (23:56.0) and junior Jordan McGuire was 122nd (25:06.2) at the regional championships.

The women's team race at the national championships will include nationally top-ranked Western State and third-ranked Western State of the Central Region along with second-ranked Grand Valley State. GVSU won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and the Midwest Region titles this season and is the defending NCAA-II National Champion.

A year ago, FSU ran to a school record-tying eighth place team finish during the 2010 NCAA Division II National Championships in Louisville, Ky.  It marked the third consecutive trip to nationals for the FSU women.

This year represents only the sixth time in history the Bulldog women's cross country team has qualified as a team for the national championships as their last three berths (2008-10) were the program's first appearances since 1987.

Last season, Muir took 11th place overall at the 2010 NCAA Division II National Championships in earning All-America honors for the third consecutive campaign.  She is one of only two women's cross country All-Americans in school history and the first three-time honoree.

This year's second-place regional finish under fourth-year head coach Steve Picucci matched the program's best showing a year ago since claiming the Great Lakes Regional crown in 1987.  It is one of the top three regional efforts in school history in addition to the Bulldogs' Great Lakes Regional victory in 1981.