Women’s cross-country qualifies for NCAA Championship after regional meet

Devon Martinez  

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     The UCCS Women’s Cross-Country team automatically qualified to the national championship after placing third at the 6K 2021 NCAA South Central Regional. Six UCCS runners recorded their personal 6K best times and three earned all-region awards.  

     The tournament in Lubbock, Texas, hosted by Lubbock Christian University, featured 28 teams. UCCS placing third is the highest finish the Mountain Lions have ever recorded at a regional meet and the first time UCCS has qualified for the national championship.  

     Adams State University won the race with 30 points, Colorado School of Mines was in second place with 89 and UCCS followed with 109.  

     Redshirt junior Layla Almasri, redshirt sophomore Riley McGrath and redshirt freshman Kate Hedlund earned the all-region award for finishing in the top-25. They also each finished the race with their personal 6K best times.  

     Almasri led UCCS with her second straight runner-up finish at 20:24.3. McGrath followed behind her at 13th overall with her time at 21:09.1. Hedlund finished 19 seconds later at 21:28.0 for a 24th place finish.  

     Freshman Anna Fauske and redshirt freshmen Sarah Bassett and Kelsey Rycenga also recorded their personal best times — finishing 35th, 53rd and 76th, respectively.  

     This was Bassett and Rycenga’s first NCAA regional meet. 

     Redshirt junior Hannah Ellis also competed and closed out at the 22:10.8 mark to place 50th overall. 

     Brianna Robles, a Montana Grizzlies athlete, led the 173 runners for her team’s first-place finish.  

     UCCS will head to St. Leo, Florida, on Nov. 20 for the 2021 NCAA Division II Women’s Cross Country National Championship meet.  

     This will be the fifth straight year under head coach Corey Kubatzky that the team has qualified for the national championship. This will also be UCCS’ 12th NCAA Championship race.  

 The UCCS Women’s Cross-Country team automatically qualified to the national championship. Photo courtesy of gomountainlions.com