Women's Cross Country Receives At-Large Bid to NCAA Championships
Nov. 15, 2009
Official NCAA Release
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 11 Nittany Lion women's cross country team will get a shot to show their stuff against the nation's best next week, as the squad received an at-large bid to the NCAA Cross Country Championships, announced by the NCAA on Sunday evening. Led by frontrunner and 2008 cross country All-American Bridget Franek (Hiram, Ohio), Penn State was one of the first teams to be selected out of the at-large pool, thanks to its outstanding efforts during the 2009 campaign.
NCAA at-large bids are determined by wins over NCAA-qualifying teams throughout the season. This fall, the Nittany Lions have defeated automatic-qualifiers Florida State, Illinois, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Providence, and SMU, earning more than enough qualifying points to make the field.
The Nittany Lions are amidst a recording-breaking season this fall, highlighted by the program's first-ever Big Ten Cross Country Championship victory. Most recently, the Penn State contingent posted a fourth-place effort in a challenging Mid-Atlantic Region, which featured five teams ranked in the top 12 nationally. Individually, Franek turned in a first-place effort at the Big Ten Championships, and a fourth-place finish at the Mid-Atlantic Regional, earning her fourth-career all-region finish. Freshman Nicole Lord (Media, Pa.) has also been on a tear, winning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, and posting an all-region effort last weekend. Senior Cheryl Spring (The Woodlands, Texas) has also been at the front of the pack, turning in her third-career all-region effort this past Saturday at Maryland-Eastern Shore.
Sophomore Vince McNally (Smoketown, Pa.) will also make the trip to the national championships via an individual-qualifying performance at the Mid-Atlantic Regional. The race will be McNally's second-career appearance at the NCAA event.
The NCAA Championships are set to be hosted by Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday, November 23. The men's race is scheduled for a 12:08 p.m., start, with the women's race to follow at 12:58 p.m. Both competitions will be shown live on Versus and streamed at NCAA.com.