Rockets Receive At-Large Berth for NCAA Women's Cross Country Ch - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Courtesy: UT Sports Information

Rockets Receive At-Large Berth for NCAA Women's Cross Country Championship For Third Consecutive Season

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TOLEDO - The University of Toledo women's cross country team received an at-large berth in the NCAA Cross Country Championships to be held at he University of Louisville on Saturday, Nov. 17, at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky. The women's race will begin at approximately 12:00 noon Eastern time, followed by the men's race at approximately 1:15 p.m.

The 18th-ranked Rockets ran to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Meet in Madison, WI on Friday. Forced to compete without two-time, All-MAC runner Megan Wright (leg injury), the Rockets were able to secure a top-five regional finish and an NCAA Championship berth for the third year in a row.

Toledo is one of only four Mid-American Conference schools to qualify for the NCAA Women's Cross Country Championships and the only one to appear in multiple national finals. Toledo also is one of only 17 programs to qualify for the last three NCAA Championships.

Head Coach Kevin Hadsell praised his team's ability to overcome the loss of a key runner and still make to the NCAAs.

"You cannot put a price tag on having this kind of depth," said Hadsell, who led his team to its third straight MAC title this year while earning MAC Coach of the Year honors for the third consecutive season. "To lose your No. 2 runner would put almost any program out of the nationals as a team. We are not a program that typically has injuries. We just had a run of bad luck with non-running related injuries, mono, iron-deficiency and illness over the course of the season.

"I'm so proud of this team. We have our number nine through twelve runners out there battling in scoring spots for us and being fearless about being placed in this situation. It truly is 'Toledo Tough'."

Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in the women's race. The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams. Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large, including Toledo.