Nov. 13, 2011
TEMPE – The Arizona State University women’s cross country team will retun to the NCAA National Championships after just a one year absence, as the NCAA announced the final qualifying field on Sunday.
The NCAA Championships are set to take place Monday, Nov. 21, in Terre Haute, Ind. The ASU women had advanced to the competition in 12 consecutive seasons before just missing the field last year.
The women will enter this year’s competition after closing the season out strong with solid finishes at the Pac-12 Championships (6th) and the NCAA West Regional Championships (7th) yesterday. The Sun Devils are one of seven Pac-12 schools to make it into the event, further establishing the conference as one of the toughest in the nation.
The team has been led all season by Shelby Houlihan, who has made a case as being the top freshman in the country in recent weeks. Houlihan was the eighth-place finisher and top freshman at the Pac-12 Championships in Litchfield Park, Ariz., a coupe weekends ago and was ago the top freshman at this weekend’s NCAA West Regional Championships, where she finished 12 overall.
This will be the 13th time in team history that the women have qualified for the NCAA Championships. The team’s top finish at the competition has been fourth, a feat they accomplished in 2005 and 2007. ASU was 24th the last they qualified for the field in 2009.
The Arizona State men’s team narrowly missed making the field, despite a gutsy performance without arguably their top runner at the NCAA West Regionals to finish eighth overall.
A complete preview of the NCAA Championships will be available within the week at www.thesundevils.com.