La Crosse, Wis. - For the first time in school history, the Viterbo University Women's Cross Country team will have a chance to win a national championship as they were awarded the Midwest Collegiate Conference automatic bid by winning the 2010 MCC Championship. Not a bad accomplishment for a program that has only been around for three years.
This is the second straight season that the V-Hawk women's cross country team has been represented at the national meet. Last season the V-Hawks sent two individuals, Bea Foley (Jr. - Greenville, Wis.) and Rosemary Loken (So. - La Crosse, Wis.), as individuals who qualified by way of finishing in the top five individually at the 2009 MCC championship. This year the V-Hawks will compete as a team with seven runners having the chance to compete. Competing for the V-Hawks will be Foley, Loken, Kriston Siemianowski (Jr. - Sparta, Wis.), Cindy Leuck (Jr. - Cashton, Wis.), Sandy Gebhart (Fr. - New Holstein, Wis.), Emma McCarthy (Jr. - Eleva, Wis.), Amanda Schield (So. - Medford, Wis.), and Dani Stark (So. - Prairie du Chien, Wis.).
"This is a great opportunity for our team to race against top flight competition and to represent all of Viterbo," commented Viterbo Head Coach and 2010 MCC Women's Coach of the Year John Metelko. "Two years ago when the National Championship was in Kenosha, a couple of our team members went with me to watch the race.After they saw the competition from around the country at that race, they decided then and there that racing in the National Championship was something they wanted to accomplish. It's taken a lot of hard work, but our ladies are ready for the opportunity. Bea and Rosemary's experience qualifying for the championship last year has been valuable for our entire team. Neither Bea nor Rosemary was content just to qualify, and both brought great efforts on race day. They've been able to share their experiences and memories from 2009. With our experience, we should have a strong finish Saturday.
For the second straight year, the NAIA National Championships will be held in Vancouver, Wash. The women's 5k race will start at 10:30 am (PST) on Saturday and will take place at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. This year's championship will include 32 teams which features 24 conference/independent champions and eight at-large selections. The field will include both the defending team and individual champion. California State-San Marcos won the 2009 team championship while Justyna Mudy of Shorter College won the individual championship.
For more information on the 2010 NAIA National Cross Country Championships please visit the NAIA website at http://naia.cstv.com/. For live video streaming of the NAIA Awards ceremony at 4:30 pm (PST) on Friday please visit http://corban.nmtvsports.com/.