Barringer, Metcalf Highlight Women’s Division I Regional Nods

Courtesy: Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

November 18, 2009   

NEW ORLEANS – A mix of new and established talent make up this season’s Division I cross country women’s Regional Coaches and Athletes of the Year as named by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Wednesday morning.

Highlighting the Athletes of the Year is Colorado senior Jenny Barringer. The Oviedo, Fla., native is already one of the most decorated female collegiate runners in history and she added to that this season by winning her first NCAA Mountain Region crown and her first Big 12 Cross Country Championship. In the final race of her collegiate career, Barringer will be part of a diverse, talented field for Monday’s NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.

Washington coach Greg Metcalf, the West Region Coach of the Year had a women’s squad that successfully defended its NCAA West Regional and Pac-10 Conference titles this season. Metcalf’s Huskies are ranked No. 1 in the nation heading into the NCAA Division I Championships and are looking to defend their 2008 national crown.

The men’s Regional Coaches and Athletes of the Year will be announced on Wednesday afternoon.

The 2009 USTFCCCA Division I Cross Country Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year

WOMEN’S REGIONAL ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

GREAT LAKES REGION – Emily MacLeod – Michigan State
MacLeod, a redshirt junior from Loveland, Ohio, won the NCAA Great Lakes Regional by over nine seconds in becoming the fourth Spartan ever to win the region. With MacLeod’s help, the Michigan State women clinched their 11th-straight NCAA Championship berth on Saturday. MacLeod also placed sixth at the Big Ten Championships earlier this season.

MID-ATLANTIC REGION – Sheila Reid – Villanova
Reid, a junior from Newmarket, Ontario, led the Wildcat charge at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region, taking the individual crown in 20 minutes, 23 seconds. Reid out-sprinted teammate Amanda Marino in the final 100 meters for the region’s top spot. Reid also claimed her first BIG EAST individual title earlier this season, becoming the first Wildcat conference winner since 2006.

MIDWEST REGION – Angela Bizzarri – Illinois
Bizzarri, a senior from Mason, Ohio, won her first NCAA Midwest Regional title this season after having finished as runner-up in the region the previous three seasons. Bizzarri is the second athlete from Illinois to have won a regional crown and the first from the school to have finished in the top 10 at the regional in all four seasons. Bizzarri also scored a career-best second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships earlier in the season.

MOUNTAIN REGION – Jenny Barringer – Colorado
Barringer, a senior from Oviedo, Fla., is already one of the most decorated female collegiate runners in history and she added to that this season by winning her first NCAA Mountain Region crown. Barringer led the Buffaloes to its first regional team title since 2006 and Barringer won CU’s first individual crown in the region since 2004. Barringer ran with race’s pack for the first 4000 meters before kicking into another gear in the final two kilometers to win the race by over 12 seconds. This season, Barringer also won her first career Big 12 individual cross country crown, leading wire-to-wire to add to her three previous years as runner-up.

NORTHEAST REGION – Katie Hursey – Syracuse
Hursey, a junior from Hampstead, Md., claimed the first individual NCAA Northeast Region title in Syracuse history with an 11-second victory. Hursey and the Orange also took its first team title in the region. Hursey placed eighth in the BIG EAST Conference race in 2009, leading her team to an all-time best third-place showing.

SOUTH REGION – Rebecca Lowe – Florida
Lowe, a redshirt sophomore from Vaucluse, Australia, became Florida’s first NCAA South Regional crown winner since 1997 after posting a nine-second victory over the South Region field.  After having to sit out the 2008 season because of injury, the 2007 SEC Freshman of the Year came back strong this season, winning the SEC Championship to go along with the regional win.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Silje Fjortoft – SMU
Fjortoft, a junior from Orsta, Norway, was first in the NCAA South Central Regional race, bettering the field by nearly 25 seconds while leading her squad to the regional’s team title. Fjortoft was second at this year’s Conference USA championships, leading her team to a second-consecutive conference crown.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Catherine White – Virginia
White, a junior from Roanoke, Va., claimed Virginia’s first individual NCAA Southeast Regional title on Saturday, topping the field by nearly nine seconds. White, in her first season at Virginia after transferring from Arkansas, led her team to a second-place team finish at the regional. White also placed second at the ACC Championships this season.

WEST REGION – Kendra Schaaf – Washington
Schaaf, a sophomore from Craven, Saskatchewan, was impressive in her 11-second victory at the NCAA West Regional. Schaaf, in her first regional, became the first Husky individual to claim the West since 1980. Schaaf, the 2008 Pac-10 Champion as a freshman, finished second in this year’s league race, coming back from fifth in the final stretch.

WOMEN’S REGIONAL COACHES OF THE YEAR

GREAT LAKES REGION – Tim Connelly – Notre Dame
Connelly coached the Fighting Irish women to their first Great Lakes regional title since 2003, improving from a fourth-place slot in 2008. Connelly, in his 22nd season at Notre Dame, had two Irish underclassmen finish in the region’s top 15, securing an eight-point victory. Notre Dame enters the NCAA Championships ranked 24th in the country.

MID-ATLANTIC REGION – Gina Procaccio – Villanova
Procaccio’s Wildcats battled the mud and muck left by the remnants of Hurricane Ida to emerge as the champs of the NCAA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, topping the field by a hefty 54 points. Villanova had the individual champion of the region (Shiela Reid), three of the top five, five of the top nine, and all seven runners in the top 15. The Wildcat women also this season took the BIG EAST title for the second-consecutive season. Villanova is ranked second in the country entering the NCAA Championships.

MIDWEST REGION – Gary Wilson – Minnesota
Wilson, in his 25th year as head coach of Golden Gophers, once again guided his team to an NCAA Midwest Region title, marking the squad’s third-consecutive victory in the region. All seven of Wilson’s harriers grabbed All-Region honors as the team went on to a 60-86 win. After winning the Big Ten title the previous two years, Minnesota placed third (80) in the league this season in a tight battle between winner Penn State (71), Illinois (77), and the Gophers. Minnesota jumped four spots in the national poll after the regional to enter the NCAA Championships ranked 13th nationally.

MOUNTAIN REGION – Mark Wetmore – Colorado
This season, Wetmore’s Buffaloes won their first NCAA Mountain Region title since 2006 in topping Big 12 Conference foe Texas Tech, 48-53, for the region’s top spot. Wetmore had two freshmen, Allie McLaughlin (3rd) and Laura Tremblay (9th) place in the top 10 in the region to go with Jenny Baringer’s top-spot finish.  The Buffs finished second at this year’s Big 12 Championships. Colorado is ranked sixth in the country entering the NCAA Championships.

NORTHEAST REGION – Chris Fox – Syracuse
Fox, in his fourth season at the helm at Syracuse, watched his Orange score the NCAA Northeast Regional team title for the first time in school history. His women’s team, which scored 59 points for the title, included three underclassmen. Syracuse took third in the BIG EAST Championships, claiming its best finish in the squad’s history. The Orange are ranked 12th nationally leading into the NCAA Championships.

SOUTH REGION – Todd Morgan – Florida
Morgan, in his second season as Florida’s cross country coach, led the Gators to their first NCAA South Regional title since 1998 and their first SEC Championship crown since 1998. Morgan had four of his runners finish in the top 10 in the region which included a 1-2 finish by Rebecca Lowe and Charlotte Browning, respectively. Florida sits fifth in the national poll entering the NCAA Championships.

SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – Cathy Casey – SMU
Casey’s Mustangs took four of the top eight spots at the NCAA South Central Regional to win the team’s second regional crown, and its first since 2004, convincingly over Baylor, 43-54. Casey, in her fifth year as the squad’s cross country coach, led the Mustangs to their second-consecutive Conference USA title. SMU climbed three spots to 22nd on the national poll entering the NCAA Championships.

SOUTHEAST REGION – Kevin Jermyn – Duke
Jermyn guided the Blue Devils to a second-consecutive NCAA Southeast Regional team title with a 40-plus point victory. Four of Jermyn’s top five finishers in the regional were underclassmen. Duke also placed second behind Florida State at the ACC Championships this season. Duke is 14th in the national poll entering the NCAA Championships.

WEST REGION – Greg Metcalf – Washington
Metcalf’s women’s squad successfully defended its NCAA West Regional and Pac-10 Conference titles this season. Metcalf, in his seventh season as leader of the Huskies, saw his team put together an impressive victory at the regional as his team placed its five scorers in the top 10 to top Oregon 25-66. Two weeks earlier, Metcalf’s team also squared off with Oregon, netting a 35-42 victory for the Pac-10 title. The Huskies will enter the NCAA Championships as defending champs and are ranked No. 1 by the nation’s coaches leading into this year’s final race.