For the first time in their history, Saint Leo University will host the NCAA Division II Cross Country South Region Championship, on Nov. 7. The event will take place at The Abbey Golf Course across State Route 52. Both Men and Women Cross Country teams from four states will compete in the races.
After successful Sunshine State Conference Championships, Saint Leo University’s Men and Women cross country teams will have their most important races of the season on Nov. 7th. The Lions will compete the 2015 NCAA Division II Cross Country South Region Championship.
Unlike most of the races during the season, the Men will run a distance of 10K instead of 8, while the Women will run 6K as usually.
The championships are very important for both teams because not only do they determine the best cross country teams in the South Region, but the top three teams qualify for the national championships as well.
All the qualified teams will take part in the NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships on Nov. 21st in Joplin, Mo. The competition will be hosted by the Missouri Sothern State University.
Based on the ranking, both of the teams are likely to qualify for the national championships and compete in Joplin on Nov.21st. However, the Lions, especially the Women, need to maintain the positions that they currently have in the ranking.
Currently, both of the teams are ranked among the top three in the South Region, according to the ranking of U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. While the Men’s team holds the first spot on the list, the Women are third.
The teams as well as their coaches are looking forward to the races, and they will do their best to punch their tickets to the national championships.
“I am expecting that our teams will be racing for the school’s first regional title, and that we will go to nationals” said Kent Reiber, the head coach of both Men and Women cross country teams at Saint Leo University.
Nevertheless, the task is not easy, and there are many other teams that will try to win the regional title and qualify for the national meet. “We are expecting 18 women’s teams and 16 men’s teams. That will total around 120 athletes on each side” said Reiber.
Apparently, the other teams that are also ranked among the top three might be the most difficult to defeat. When asked for the teams that in his opinions might challenge the Lions the most, Reiber said: “On the men’s side Lee University and Nova, on the women’s side Lee, West Alabama, Tampa, and Union”.
If the Men manage to qualify for the national championships, it will be their third consecutive appearance at the meet. After finishing second last year, they will try to become regional champions this year.
If the Women finish the competition among the top three as well, it will be their second consecutive qualification.
The Women will start their competition at 9 am. The Men will begin after the Women, at 10:15 am.
We will have the results next week.