After finishing in fourth place at the NCAA Central Regional 10K meet on Nov. 6, it was announced that the UCCS Men’s Cross-Country team was one of 10 teams selected to receive an at-large bid to qualify in the 2021 NCAA Division Championship, according to Go Mountain Lions.
The team is competing in the national meet for the eighth time in program history.
Their fourth-place finish was helped in part to four runners earning all-region accolades, the most ever for the men’s team at UCCS. Junior Afewerki Zeru, graduate student Matthew Schramm, redshirt sophomore Evan Graff and redshirt senior Mark Simmons all earned the honors.
Zeru led the pack by beating his previous personal best 10K by over a minute and recording the fastest time in program history. He also finished in second place for the second straight meet, crossing the line at 29:42.16.
Schramm, Graff and Simmons also bested their previous personal best times for a 10K. All three finished within five seconds and five spots of each other. With Schramm finishing in 19th place at 30:59.84, Graff followed him in 20th place at 31:00.61 and Simmons in 23rd place with a time of 31:04.69.
Graduate student Branden Bohling, redshirt freshman Gavin Harden and redshirt sophomore Will Young all competed in their first 10K. This was Harden and Young’s first career regional meet as well.
Bohling ended in 35th place for a 31.31.30 time. Harden followed in 49th overall and a 31:44:55 time and Young finished in 58th place in 32:08.62.
In the last NCAA Division II South Central Region Cross Country Championship in 2019, UCCS ended in fourth.
Colorado School of Mines ended their 26 teams, scoring only 42 points. The Colorado Mines Orediggers runner won the individual title in 29:15:35.
The championship will be held Nov. 20 in St. Leo, Florida, at the Abbey Course.