Berths at the 2018 NCAA Division II Championships are on the line when Ashland University's men's and women's cross country teams compete on Saturday (Nov. 17) at the D-II Midwest Regional meet at Hayden Park on the campus of Hillsdale College.
The 10K men's race will start at 10:30 a.m., with the 6K women's race to follow at 11:45 a.m.
"Very hilly," Ashland head coach Jacob Sussman said of the regional course. "It's pretty much hills at the top. I wouldn't compare it to (the) Slippery Rock (meet). It's not quite as tough as that course."
Ashland's men and women are coming off the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships, where they as a team finished sixth and eighth, respectively.
"GLIAC was kind of a hit or miss in terms of how the athletes felt about. I was kind of indifferent about it," said Sussman. "We know that the capability and the talent is there. They're in shape and ready to go."
On the men's side, they will run a 10K after competing in 8Ks throughout the fall, but due to training, Sussman doesn't think the extra 2K will be an issue.
"It's tough, but luckily we're past that point," he said. "A lot of our guys have seen that and done that already, and we've been training for 10Ks all year. They're definitely prepared for it, they're ready for it."
The following is a list of AU men's collegiate 10K PRs:
Kyle Shively, junior – 33:36.8
Tyler Sievert, sophomore – 34:28.3
Nathaniel Redden, sophomore – 34:48.5
Ian Johnson, sophomore – 35:37.0
"Kyle, All-GLIAC last year, just missed out on All-GLIAC this year," noted Sussman. "The GLIAC is much stronger this year, and a lot of those guys who were ahead of him are going to be on teams that will go to the national meet. In terms of being an individual in one of those top places, he's got a shot, for sure."
The following is a list of AU women's collegiate 6K PRs:
Emily Schumaker, senior – 22:45.0
Johannah Stefanek, junior – 23:45.9
Abby Moser, freshman – 23:56.8
Haylee Zigan, junior – 24:37.0
Tracy Morgan, sophomore – 24:47.1
Destini Oler, freshman – 25:00.1
Lexi Butterbaugh, sophomore – 25:03.5
Maureen McKeown, sophomore – 25:19.1
"We've talked as a team on the women's side. A lot of our sophomore girls and junior girls are ready to go with them, as well," Sussman said of Schumaker, Stefanek and Moser.
The top three teams from each regional meet will automatically advance to the championship finals (24 teams total). Ten (10) at-large teams will be selected by the NCAA Division II Men's and Women's Cross Country Committee. There is no limit to the number of at-large teams that may be selected from any given region.
The top two individuals who are not part of a qualifying team will automatically advance to the championship finals (16 individuals total). All individuals who finish in the top five at the regional meet and are not part of a qualifying team will automatically advance to the championships finals. The next eight individuals will be selected at-large.