The Saint Leo Lions men’s and women’s cross country teams cruised through the NCAA Division II Cross Country South Regional Championships on Nov. 7, with both teams qualifying for the National Championships on Nov. 21, in Joplin, Missouri. The men’s team finished first, winning their first Regional Championship in the University’s history. The women’s team finished second, with Sophomore Colett Rampf finishing in first place in the individual race.
This is the third straight year the men’s team has qualified for the National Championships, and Kent Reiber, head coach of the Lions, expressed his pride in the team.
“Wow… we’ve been thinking about this moment all season, and to finally say that these young men are regional champions is awesome,” Reiber told saintleolions.com.
With the new Division II rankings to be released on Nov. 11, the Lions should see a rise in the rankings, having been unranked in the previous rankings, released on Oct. 28. As they were the top team in the South region, they should do well in the national championships.
For the women, a second place finish to the University of Tampa cinches their second straight trip to the National Championships. It was also the second consecutive year the Lady Lions ended the Regionals in second place.
Rampf, coming off of her individual victory at the Sunshine State Conference Championships, finished the women’s 6K run in a time of 21:41.66, almost 21 seconds ahead of the second place runner.
The team finished better than their regional rankings projected, as they were ranked third in the South region, after being dropped from the top spot in the previous rankings.
“Coming in second two years in a row is a great achievement for our ladies, and we’re excited with the way they executed our race strategies. We’re looking forward to improving on our finish from last year’s national championship, and competing against some of the best schools in the country.” Coach Reiber told saintleolions.com.
While also unranked in the NCAA rankings, expect Rampf to again compete for a top finish in the National Championships.
What’s especially exciting in the women’s run to the Nationals is how the team only has one senior, Kylie Fagan, which means the team gets to mostly stay together, and continue to grow and push for further accomplishments.