The NMU Women’s Cross Country team ran their way right to the National Championships after placing fourth in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship Saturday afternoon in Cedarville, Ohio.
Despite having problems with sickness and injury throughout the season, head coach Jenny Ryan was happy with how things have been and how her team will finish the season.
“It’s so exciting to watch my team run stronger at every race,” Ryan added. “We were strong at the beginning and we have only gotten stronger throughout.”
NMU was just short of automatically running at the national meet, as the top three placing programs go straight to the championship in two weeks.
Three of NMU’s runners received all-region accolades for their performances at the meet.
Senior Kameron Burmeister finished for the fourth-consecutive year with an all-region performance. Burmeister finished in fifth place with her season best time of 21:38.90.
Two more runners receiving all-region honors were senior Vivian Hett and sophomore Katelyn Smith.
Hett posted her season best performance crossing the finish line in 15th at 21:59, and Smith crossed in 19th at 22:02.6.
A member of both the Cross Country and Ski Team, as well as being a busy sports science major, Hett finds time to be successful in all three areas. Hett said one of her favorite parts about cross country has just been being on the team.
“Always having the team with me allows us to bond and share experiences,” Hett added. “Even though we run by ourselves, we made it to nationals together as a team.”
Other runners for the Wildcats were junior Abby Fifarek who finished 40th with a time of 21:19.4 and junior Sophie McDonald who finished 48th with 22:58.
Rounding out the runners for the Wildcats, senior Kieren Becker finished in 51st at 23:04, while sophomore Hanna Torvi came in at 55th with 23:08.1.
Sara Berger, of Walsh University took the top individual spot running at 21:19.40. Grand Valley State University took the top team spot followed by Hillsdale in second and Walsh in third.
The National Championship is set for Nov. 18 in Evansville, Indiana. The Wildcats placed 14th at this event last year and ninth in 2015, while in 2002 they crossed the finish line