SEATTLE – For the seventh straight season, the Husky women’s cross country team will be lined up at the NCAA Championships when the gun goes off next Saturday, Nov. 23, in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Huskies officially earned an at-large bid to the championship race, the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee announced today. Also earning a spot as an individual is junior Aaron Nelson, who has finished in the top-10 at every race this season.
Thirty-one teams make up the field for nationals on both the women’s and men’s sides, plus thirty-eight more individuals for fields of over 250 runners in each race. Terre Haute hosts for the ninth time in the past ten years at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course.
Apart from a two-year gap in 2005-06, the UW women’s cross country team has made the NCAA Championships in 15 of the past 17 years going back to 1997, which was the first year that Head Coach Greg Metcalf coached the women’s team. Washington will be looking to extend its recent run of success at nationals, which has seen five top-10 finishes in the past six years including three podium finishes.
The Huskies made NCAAs after a fifth-place finish at West Regionals on Friday in Sacramento, as all of the top-five teams in the West qualified. Senior Katie Flood led the way yesterday with a fourth-place finish, and she will be looking to earn her second cross country All-America honor in her last cross country race as a Husky. Senior Liberty Miller also earned All-West Region honors yesterday with a 23rd-place run.
Nelson will be running at his first ever NCAA Championships after he finished eighth at Regionals, advancing by virtue of being one of the top-four finishers on a non-qualifying team. He’s the second straight Husky men’s individual to qualify as Joey Bywater took 69th a year ago. The men’s team was ninth at Regionals as only three West Regional men’s teams advanced. Nelson has followed through on a great season that started with wins at the Sundodger Invite and the Bill Dellinger Invite and included an eight-place finish at Pac-12s.