For Immediate Release,
October 31, 2016
EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana Department of Athletics along with the Evansville Sports Corporation is set to host the NCAA Division II Midwest Cross Country Region Championships this Saturday at Angel Mounds. The men’s 10-kilometer race begins at 10:30 a.m., while the women’s 6k is slated for an 11:45 a.m. start time.
This is the third consecutive year that USI and the Evansville Sports Corporation have teamed up to host the NCAA II Midwest Region Championships at Angel Mounds. The NCAA II National Championships will be at Angel Mounds in 2017.
“Our goal in hosting NCAA Championships like the Midwest Regional is to provide a great experience to the student athletes and fans while showcasing what makes Southwest Indiana great,” Jason Sands, Executive Director of the Evansville Sports Corporation, said. “Angel Mounds’ unique history and the amazing course that has been developed out there has truly put Evansville on the map when it comes to hosting cross country championships.”
The Midwest Region consists of teams from the Great Lakes Valley Conference, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. Around 30 teams and more than 200 student athletes are expected to compete in each race.
A total of 12 teams enter Saturday’s races ranked in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association Top 25 polls; six in the women’s race and six in the men’s race. With its 12 nationally-ranked teams, the Midwest Region is tied for first with the West Region for most nationally-ranked teams.
Grand Valley State University is the top-ranked team in both the men’s and women’s races as the Lakers enter the weekend ranked No. 2 in both U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association Top 25 polls.
USI’s women enter the week ranked No. 2 in the Midwest Region and No. 6, nationally, while the Screaming Eagles are ranked No. 2 in the men’s Midwest Region rankings and No. 7 in the men’s national rankings.
In the men’s Top 25, the Midwest Region also is represented by Saginaw Valley State University (No. 13), Hillsdale College (No. 17), Lewis University (No. 22) and Bellarmine University (No. 11). Walsh University is receiving votes outside the Top 25.
The Midwest Region also is represented by six teams in the USTFCCCA Women’s Top 25. In addition to Grand Valley State and USI, the region also features No. 8 Cedarville University, No. 10 Northern Michigan University, No. 11 Hillsdale and No. 22 Bellarmine. Lewis and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside are receiving votes outside the Top 25.
Individually, Bellarmine junior Chris Striegel and Tiffin University sophomore James Ngandu are among a handful of favorites in the men’s race. Striegel, the GLVC champion, finished fourth a year ago at the NCAA II Midwest Regional, while Ngandu, the GLIAC champion, enters his first regional meet after missing out on last year’s competition.
USI junior Bastian Grau (Höchstadt, Germany) also is one of the favorites in the men’s race after a second-place showing at the GLVC Championships, as is Grand Valley State sophomore Zach Panning, who was second at the GLIAC Championships and fifth at the 2015 NCAA II Midwest Region Championships.
Junior Emily Roberts (Fredericktown, Ohio) and senior Jessica Reeves (Midland, Michigan) enter Saturday’s race as favorites in the women’s race after leading USI to its sixth straight GLVC title. Roberts was fifth at the NCAA II Midwest Region Championships a year ago and is the top returning runner in this year’s race, while Reeves was 16th.
Grand Valley State’s Kendra Foley, who was sixth at last year’s regional, also is among the favorites in the women’s race after capturing the GLIAC title this year.
The top five teams from each race Saturday advance to the NCAA II National Championships, which are November 19 in St. Leo, Florida. The top three individuals not from a qualifying team—or the top five overall individuals if none are from qualifying teams—advance to the national meet as well. All-Midwest Region honors go to the top 25 finishers in each race.
Grand Valley State won both the men’s and women’s regional crowns a year ago. The Lakers have won the last 15 women’s regional championships and the previous 14 men’s regional titles.