ELON, N.C. – The Elon University men’s and women’s cross country programs travel to compete in its most important meet of the season, the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships in Louisville, Ky., on Friday, Nov. 14, on the course at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park. The meet kicks off with the women’s 6K race at noon followed by the men’s 10K run at 1 p.m.
The Phoenix women will look to improve on its ninth-place standing of a year ago at the Southeast championships, its highest finish ever at the regional meet. The men’s team, who only raced four individuals at last year’s meet, will look to have members of the program earn All-Region honors and potentially advance to the NCAA Championships.
On the women’s side, Elon will send an experienced group to this year’s regional championship after returning all but one runner from a year ago. Seniors Tereza Novotna and Jenny Gallagher lead the way after running the top-two fastest times in school history in the 6K at the Colonial Athletic Association Cross Country Championships on Nov. 1. Novotna clocked in a program-record time of 21:08.37 and was fifth overall at the league championships while Gallagher was sixth with her time of 21:10.91. Both runners will look to earn the program’s first All-Region honor and extend their cross country careers to the NCAA Championships.
Fellow All-CAA performers, Elyse Bierut and Kimberly Johansen, as well as senior Haylee Dawe, and juniors Emily Dunne and Kaitlin Snapp will join both Novotna and Gallagher as the group that will represent Elon on Friday in the women’s race.
Senior Luis Vargas headlines the maroon and gold men, who will be competing in their first 10K race of the season. Vargas won the men’s 8K race at the CAA Championships, becoming Elon’s first-ever champion in its new league and the first member of the program to win a conference title at the Division I level. Last season, the Angier, N.C., native became the first member of the program to earn All-Region honors and will look to also capture a spot at the national meet.
Another senior, Ari Rothschild, will look to receive All-Region accolades. The Highland Park, Ill., native ran the second-fastest time in school history in the 10K a clocking in a time of 31:58.4 at last season’s regional meet. He also earned All-CAA honors at the league championships with a fifth-place standing and a personal-best time of 25:12.28.
Senior Adam Bernstein, juniors Ryan Gwaltney and Reed Payne and freshmen Sam Geha and Carlos Andino round out the group competing on the men’s side for the Phoenix.
A total of 31 teams earn bids to the NCAA D-I Championships with 18 bids are automatic from the top-two teams in each region. The remaining 13 bids are at-large. After the teams have been determined, 38 additional individuals per gender are selected to compete at the NCAA Championships. From those teams not selected in the above process, the top four finishers at each regional are automatically selected, but must have finished within the top 25 of the region. In addition, the NCAA committee will also choose two individuals for at-large bids.
The NCAA Cross Country Championships will be run in Terra Haute, Ind., on Nov. 22.