Weekend Recap: NCAA DII Regional Championships Saturday

The Road to Saint Leo, Florida, begins now!

That’s because we found which teams earned automatic bids – and put themselves in position for an at-large bid – to the 2021 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships at Abbey Golf Course on Saturday, November 20.

From The USTFCCCA InfoZoneMeets & Results | USTFCCCA Scoreboard

Remember that the top-3 men’s and women’s teams in each region go right through to the season finale and 10 more at-large berths, per gender, are handed out by the NCAA DII Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Committee to bring us to a total of 34. CLICK HERE if you need a refresher on selection procedures in NCAA DII Cross Country.

Let’s find out what happened in each of the eight regions!

South Central Region

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Women’s 6k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Adams State, Colorado School of Mines, UC-Colorado Springs

No. 1 Adams State ran away with the regional title. After that, it was just a matter of time to find out which two other teams would earn automatic qualifying bids to the NCAA Championships. The Grizzlies put six athletes in the top-15 – including individual champion Brianna Robles in 20:24.3  – as they scored just 30 points. No. 4 Colorado School of Mines was a clear runner-up with 89 points, while No. 6 UC-Colorado Springs finished third with 109 points. No. 13 Western Colorado (120) and No. 26 Colorado Christian (165) rounded out the top-5 teams.

Finishing behind Robles in the individual race were Layla Almarsi of UC-Colorado Springs (20:30.9), Florance Uwajeneza of West Texas A&M (20:34.4), Franziska Althaus of Adams State (20:37.4) and Katie Doucette of Western Colorado (20:41.8).

Men’s 10k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Colorado School of Mines, Adams State, Colorado Christian

A thrilling battle waged for the regional title and the final automatic qualifying spot. When the dust settled in Lubbock, Texas, No. 2 Colorado School of Mines topped the podium once again with 42 points thanks to putting six runners in the top-15, led by individual champion Dillon Powell in 29:15.4, while No. 3 Adams State finished runner-up with 54 points (The Orediggers and the Grizzlies were separated by just one point at the first split of the race). No. 8 Colorado Christian took third place with 91 points, followed by No. 12 UC-Colorado Springs (99) and No. 16 Western Colorado (121).

Finishing behind Powell in the individual race was Afewerki Zeru of UC-Colorado Springs (29:42.1), Kyle Moran of Colorado Mines (29:53.6), Ahmed Sabo of Adams State (29:54.04) and Ryder Searle of Colorado Christian (29:54.05).

Midwest Region

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Women’s 6k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Grand Valley State, Southern Indiana, Cedarville

No. 2 Grand Valley State breezed to a 20th-straight regional title, scoring 40 points to easily finish ahead of fellow AQ earners No. 11 Southern Indiana (110) and No. 14 Cedarville (137), the latter two earning AQs for the first time since 2016. There will be plenty of well-eligible nominees as five other ranked teams were in the deep field. No. 22 Saginaw Valley State (175) and co-No. 15 Lewis (178) completed the top-5, followed by No. 23 Walsh (182), RV Hillsdale (188), No. 20 Southwest Baptist (235), unranked Malone (282) and No. 29 Wayne State (Mich.) (299).

Jennifer Comastri of Southern Indiana scored an 18-second victory for the individual title in 20:24.5 as Walsh’s Alexa Leppelmeier was runner-up in 20:42.5. GVSU’s Hanna Becker and Klaudia O’Malley went 3-4 with identical 20:47.6 times as Najwa Chouati of Lindenwood (20:55.0) completed the top-5.

Men’s 10k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Grand Valley State, Lewis, Walsh

No. 1 Grand Valley State won a 19th-straight title and – as is often the case – made it look easy, scoring 49 points. The next two spots figured to be close, and the wild battle saw No. 11 Lewis (118) and No. 22 Walsh (135) earn the coveted AQ positions in a very deep region. Just 4 points back was No. 25 Michigan Tech 139, with No. 15 Southern Indiana taking fifth (158) as two ranked teams – No. 14 Illinois-Springfield and No. 30 Wayne State (Mich.) – finished outside the top-5.

A tight individual battle saw CarLee Stimpfel of Saginaw Valley State improve on his runner-up finish in 2019 to edge Tanner Chada of GVSU as both clocked 30:02.6. Zane Aldrich of Northwood (Mich.) was third in 30:09.0, followed by Noah Hufnagel of Southern Indiana (30:12.2) and Blake Jones of Illinois-Springfield (30:15.3).

Central Region

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Women’s 6k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Augustana (S.D.), Minnesota Duluth, U-Mary

No. 3 Augustana (S.D.) cruised to its second regional crown in a row, scoring 33 points to well-outdistance NSIC rivals No. 18 Minnesota Duluth (113) and No. 17 U-Mary (130), which earned the other two AQ spots. Augustana was the only program with more than one top-10 finisher and dominated with four such finishers. It was U-Mary’s fifth-straight AQ berth, but the first for Minnesota Duluth since 2017. Two unranked squads in Winona State (190) and Northwest Missouri (221) completed the top-5 teams, both finishing ahead of four other teams either ranked or receiving votes.

Winona State’s Lindsay Cunningham won the individual title in 20:22.6, with Meagan Means of Augustana earning runner-up honors in 20:32.5. Nicolette Schmidt of Augustana (20:53.9), Jenna Ramsey of Emporia State (20:54.7) and P.J. English of Augustana (21:01.3) rounded-out the top-5.

Men’s 10k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Augustana (S.D.), Missouri Southern, Pittsburg State

No. 4 Augustana (S.D.) won the regional title for the first time since 2017, placing all five scorers in the top-15. No. 17 Missouri Southern (81) and No. 6 Pittsburg State claimed the other two AQ berths in a reversal of their finish in the MIAA Championships two weeks ago. For Missouri Southern, it’s an eighth AQ spot since 2012, while it’s Pittsburg State’s first since at least 2009. Nebraska-Kearney (171) and Central Missouri (179) rounded out the top-5.

Ryan Riddle led a 1-2 Missouri Southern finish individually, winning in 29:22.3 over teammate J.P. Rutledge’s 29:37.6. Matthew Oglesby of Pittsburg was third in 29:41.3, followed by Augustana’s top pair of Ryan Hartman (29:46.2) and Austin Miller (29:56.5).

West Region

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Women’s 6k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Simon Fraser, Stanislaus State, Chico State

The form chart proved true. No. 8 Simon Fraser won the team title on Saturday with 75 points, as No. 12 Cal State Stanislaus (91) and No. 15 Chico State (110) earned the other two automatic qualifiers. SFU only put one runner in the top-10, but had a strong contingent of athletes from spots Nos. 26-29 to hold off the Warriors and the Wildcats. No. 28 Academy of Art finished fourth with 134 points, followed by No. 30 Biola (Calif.) with 175 points.

Kaela Dishion of Stanislaus State won the individual title in 21:14.4, more than five seconds ahead of Olivia Willett of Simon Fraser (21:19.7). Natalia Novak of Academy of Art finished third in 21:27.1 with Rosie Fordham (21:34.4) and Kendall Kramer (21:36.1) of Alaska-Fairbanks in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Men’s 10k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Chico State, Fresno Pacific, Cal Poly Pomona

Once Chico State took the lead at 2.4k, it turned into a battle to find out which two teams would also earn automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. The Wildcats dominated the proceedings with 47 points with two top-10 runners and a tight pack from Nos. 12-15, while No. 20 Fresno Pacific (109) and Cal Poly Pomona (138) also punched tickets to Florida. RV Azusa Pacific (139) finished an agonizingly close fourth and No. 28 Western Washington was fifth with 147 points.

Patrick Kiprop of Fresno Pacific continued his incredible season by blowing the doors off the competition to win the individual title by nearly 43 seconds in 30:12.6. Shea Vavra of Cal State San Marcos took runner-up honors in 30:55.2, followed by Brayden McLaughlin of Chico State (30:55.4), Joshua Velasco of Azusa Pacific (30:55.9) and Cole Nash of Alaska-Anchorage (30:56.3).

South Region

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Women’s 6k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Lee (Tenn.), Saint Leo, Mississippi College

No. 5 Lee (Tenn.) ran away from the rest of the field for its second consecutive regional crown by 49 points. The Flames placed all five runners in the top-11, including the 1-2 punch by Celine Ritter and Toni Moore, to score 31 points ahead of runner-up Saint Leo’s 80 points. Mississippi College captured the final AQ spot with a third-place finish (97), becoming the first NCAA qualifiers in program history.

Ritter was dominant as she captured the individual title in 21:25.13, finishing 27 seconds ahead of Moore, who finished second in 21:52.14. Faye Dervan of Saint Leo (22:00.19), Johanna Wistokat of Christian Brothers (22:03.60) and Paige Patterson of Saint Leo (22:15.36) round out the top-5 in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Men’s 10k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Lee (Tenn.), Alabama-Huntsville, Mississippi College

No. 10 Lee (Tenn.) is bringing the team trophy back to Cleveland, Tennessee for the first time since 2016. The Flames scored 48 points to win by 10 points over No. 9 Alabama-Huntsville (58), who was the clear runner-up. No. 18 Mississippi College notched 96 points for third, followed by fourth-place Embry Riddle (Fla.) (104) and fifth-place Florida Southern (116).

Shane Bracken of Saint Leo won the individual title in 31:21.89 by more than 18 seconds over Christian Noble of Lee (Tenn.) (31:40.49). Rounding out the top-5 are Mason Jones of Florida Southern in third (31:47.23), Allan Anderson of Alabama-Huntsville in fourth (31:58.65) and Arthur Cosson in fifth (32:05.95).

Southeast Region

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Women’s 6k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Queens (N.C.), Wingate, Anderson (S.C.)

No. 9 Queens (N.C.) romped to a fourth-straight regional title, scoring 25 points as all five runners finished in the top-10. No. 7 Wingate, which won the South Atlantic Conference title over Queens two weeks ago, was a solid second with 43 points. The real battle was for the final AQ position, earned by RV Anderson (S.C.) with 118 points, just ahead of RV Lenoir-Rhyne and RV Flagler, each with 128 (Lenoir-Rhyne won the tiebreaker). Anderson’s AQ berth is the program’s first since 2018.

Lara Orrock of Wingate won the individual title in 20:21.0 as Fatima Alanis was runner-up in 20:37.7, leading a trio of Queens freshmen as Cherise Carreira (20:47.8) and Madison Synowiec (21:16.4) followed. Janet Kwambai of Lenoir-Rhyne (21:24.4) rounded out the top-5.

Men’s 10k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Wingate, Queens (N.C.), Catawba

No. 5 Wingate dominated in winning its first regional title since at least 2009 as the Bulldogs placed all five scorers in the top-9 (plus 10-12 with its next two runners) in scoring 33 points. No. 12 Queens (N.C.), which had won the last two editions of this meet, was second with 73 points. A thrilling finish ensued for the final AQ berth with unranked Catawba nipping No. 23 Augusta by just one point, 104-105. Catawba’s No. 5 runner, Ethan Bemis, was 34th in 32:37.7 – one place and 2.2 seconds ahead of Augusta’s fifth runner to complete the scoring. Catawba’s previous regional-high finish was sixth in 2019, while Augusta was seeking a fourth-straight AQ bid. Anderson (S.C.) rounded out the top-5 with 124 points.

Jan Lukas Becker of Queens defeated two-time reigning regional champ Joshua Chepkesir of UNC Pembroke for the individual title, 30:18.5 to 30:23.1. Yonas Sauers led the Wingate blanket that finished 3-4-5-6, clocking 31:05.3 followed by Saul Valdez and Titouan Le Grix (both in 31:15.5), ahead of Oliver Way (31:16.7).

Atlantic Region

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Women’s 6k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Edinboro, Seton Hill, Charleston (W.Va.)

Edinboro rolled to its fourth-straight Atlantic Region crown, as the Fighting Scots scored 73 points and placed three athletes among the top-7. Seton Hill captured runner-up honors with 106 points, followed by Charleston (W.Va.) in third (137) to earn the final two automatic qualifying spots. Rounding out the top-5 in the team race are fourth-place Bloomsburg (153) and fifth-place Lock Haven (165).

Elise Leveel of Charleston (W.Va) completed the 6k course in 21:09.9 to win the individual title. Following behind Leveel are Marianne Abdalah of Slippery Rock (21:25.7), Kimberly Goerss of Edinboro (21:36.2), Sydney Wolf of Seton Hill (21:93.3) and Sarah Supplee of West Chester (21:42.3).

Men’s 10k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: Charleston (W.Va.), Concord, Edinboro

While No. 13 Charleston (W.Va.) stormed to its third-straight Atlantic Region title early on, the battle for the remaining two automatic qualifying spots would be settled shortly after. The Golden Eagles scored just 22 points and placed all five runners in the top-8, including a 2-3-4-5 finish by their top-4. Edinboro placed second with 71 points, followed by third-place Concord (98). Shippensburg (116) and Slippery Rock (202) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Issac Prather of Concord won the individual title in 30:35.6 to finish ahead of the Charleston (W.Va.) quartet of David Cecchi (30:42.7), Matthew Forrester (30:47.1), Casey Ellis (30:53.9) and Joao Pereira (31:00.3).

East Region

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Women’s 6k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: American International, Stonehill, Roberts Wesleyan

American International and Stonehill made it clear early on that they’d be taking two of the automatic qualifying spots out of the East Region. When the Yellow Jackets won with 42 points and the Skyhawks finished with 54, it became a two-team race between Roberts Wesleyan and Southern New Hampshire. Well, the Redhawks emerged victorious by the slimmest of margins – and we mean, slimmest – as they took third place by one point, 90-91.

Fransiscah Cherotich and Mercyline Kimaiyo led AIC with a 1-2 finish in 21:08.8 and 21:17.4, respectively, while Bethaney Donnelly of Franklin Pierce finished third in 21:36.9 with Ashley Corcoran of SNHU (21:43.7) and Rebecca Erhard of Stonehill (21:46.8) in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Men’s 10k Championship

Automatic Qualifying Teams: American International, Southern Connecticut State, Stonehill

American International eased to a team title on Saturday, scoring 23 points thanks to putting all five scorers in the top-8, led by a 1-2 finish by Ezra Mutai (29:16.2) and Callum Elson (30:56.4). Southern Connecticut State earned runner-up honors with 50 points, while Stonehill nabbed the other automatic bid with 89 points. Roberts Wesleyan finished just four points out of third place with 93 points with Franklin Pierce in fifth with 112 points.

Behind Mutai and Elson in the individual race were Jake Mattei (31:16.8) and Terrell Patterson (31:21.0) of Southern Connecticut State in third and fourth, respectively, followed by Charles Guigon of American International (31:29.0) to round out the top-5.