Five Northwestern College runners qualified for the 2018 NAIA Cross Country National Championship race which will take place on Friday, Nov. 16, at the Seminole Valley Cross Country Course in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Three NW women qualified individually. Bre Harthoorn, Autumn Muilenburg and Emma Van Meeteren are among the 93 runners that make up the individual qualifiers in the 2018 championship field. These women earned their spot by placing among the top six runners at their conference championship, provided they were in the top 15 runners overall and not part of a team that already qualified.
Two NW men qualified individually. Dylan Hendricks and Caleb Benzing are among the 83 runners that make up the individual qualifiers in the 2018 championship field. These men earned their spot by placing among the top four runners at their conference championship, provided they were in the top 15 runners overall and were not part of a team that already qualified.
With the exception of Muilenburg, a freshman, all of the runners have competed at the national level before. Muilenburg, first-time Nationals Qualifier, said, “I’m excited to run at such a big meet. I’m also pumped that I get to run with some of my teammates.”
The women’s race, a 5-kilometer race, will take place at 10:30 a.m. The men’s race, an 8-kilometer race, will take place at 11:30 a.m.
This is the first time in NAIA Cross Country Championships history that the race will take place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Mount Mercy will host again in 2020.
Both the women and men have 36 participating teams. Automatic berth is earned by winning the conference championship meet, being the meet runner-up or ending the season ranked in the top 30 final poll. For the women, three conferences received two automatic berths. For the men, one conference received two automatic berths. In addition to the automatic qualifiers, the women were allowed one host berth (Mount Marty) and 11 at-large berths. The men were also allowed one host berth and 13 at large berths.
Both the NW women’s and men’s teams worked hard in the qualifying meet. Both teams qualified last year and had high hopes to return this fall. The women were just one point away from automatically-qualifying.
Carrie Krohn, assistant cross country coach, is ready for Friday. “We are excited for the opportunity to race with the best in the nation and to show the courage and grit needed to compete well,” she said