Cross Country Qualifies for NCAAs

The UChicago Cross Country teams qualify for the NCAA Championships with an impressive performance at the Midwest Regionals with the Men’s team finishing 6th and the Women’s team finishing 4th.

By Andy Presher

Both the Maroon women and the Maroon men put in strong performances on Saturday, November 10, at the NCAA DIII Midwest regionals; both teams were bidding for an at-large berth at the NCAA championship. The Maroon women finished fourth out of 36 teams, while the Maroon men finished sixth in a field of 35 teams. Highlighting the results was the selection of seven Maroons for All-Region honors: first-year Henry Myers, second-years Sophie Elgamal, Emma Dyer, Ryan Cutter, and Chase Gardner, and third-years Maggie Boudreau and Claire Brockway. With both the men’s and women’s spots for the NCAA championship confirmed on Sunday, the teams will head to Winneconne, Wisconsin to compete one final time this season on Saturday, November 17 at the championship meet. 

The Maroon women were led to their fourth-place finish by a 10th place individual finish by Elgamal, who completed the six-kilometer course with a time of 22:08. 28 seconds later, Boudreau, the first of a pack of three UChicago runners, finished the race. She was followed four seconds later by Brockway, who completed the race two seconds before Dyer, the final runner in the trio, who finished with a time of 22:42. Their places were 21st, 23rd, and 25th. Boudreau commented on the pack’s impressive finish, saying, “We worked off each other’s energy throughout the race. It was really motivating to have teammates nearby on the last hill and into the finish chute.” The Maroons rounded out their performance with times of 23:08 for first-year Kaitlyn Van Baalen, 23:21 for second-year Abigail Shoemaker, and 23:22 for first-year Lucy Jeffs.  

The first finisher among the Maroon men was Cutter, who took 15th place with a time of 25:04. He was followed by Myers, whose time of 25:19 was good for 22nd place overall and first among all first-years. In the 33rd place was Gardner, with a time of 25:34. He was followed by first-year Sam Craig, who added to the positive news regarding the Maroon men’s future as he became the second finisher among first-years with a time of 25:43 and an overall finish of 39th. Myers agreed with the assessment of what is to come for the team and commented, “I think we all sort of know that this is just the beginning.” He later added, “If we can stay healthy and work hard, I would expect big, big things in a couple of years.” Three upperclassmen closed out the Maroon men’s performance as third-year Tim Koenning finished in 57th with a time of 26:03, fourth-year Ansel Richards finished in 63rd with a time of 26:07, and third-year Andrew Kates finished in 106th with a time of 26:56. 

Solid performances on both sides were highlighted by impressive finishes from Maroon first-years. On the men’s side, Myers and Craig finished first and second among first-years, while on the women’s side, Van Baalen and Jeffs were fourth and seventh. However, the optimism about the future of both teams does not end there. The men’s squad for regionals consisted of two first-years, two second-years, two third-years, and only a single fourth year. In comparison, North Central, who won the men’s race, had a top-finishing squad with only a single runner who is not a fourth-year. This is not to say that North Central should prepare for some tough seasons ahead; it is likely their depth outside their top seven is equally impressive. However, the likely return of six of the seven runners from this race is good news for the Maroon men. The women’s squad at the Midwest Regional contained two first-years, four second-years, and a third-year. With a strong showing at the regional meet and both squads bringing back a majority of runners next year, the future looks good for UChicago cross country.