After a great comeback season in which the Women’s Cross Country team went from 9th to 1st including a clean sweep of the medal positions, the team is looking to be the first women’s team to run in the NCAA regional tournament for ACU since 2011.
In 2015 when a nearly identical women’s team won the Southland Conference Championship, they were ineligible for NCAA postseason contention. Now the girls are back and ready to fight for a spot in the NCAA national tournament. They rank second in the region behind Arkansas and ahead of schools like Rice, Baylor and the University of Texas.
The last time any runners ran in the NCAA regional tournament was in 2011 when ACU’s Chloe Susset finished first with a time of 21:37.9. Susset later went on to run in the NCAA Div. 2 National tournament, finishing 59th with a time of 22.50.0.
The top-three women for ACU Alexandria and Michaela Hackett and Diana Garcia Munoz, finished with better times in the Southland Conference Championships this year than Susset did when she won the regional tournament in 2011.
In 2011 two runners also made the All South-Central region team, with Susset finishing 1st and Alyse Goldsmith finishing 4th. A few talented Wildcat women have an opportunity to do the same thing, but as a Div. 1 school.
The tournament takes place in College Station at the Watts Cross Country Course at Texas A&M, with the women starting the event at 9:15 a.m. The top two teams will qualify for the NCAA Div. 1 National Championships next weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. Arkansas has won both the men’s and women’s region team title each year since 2013. The Razorbacks have also won the last six women’s regional titles.
Arkansas is the clear favorite this weekend, ranked sixth in the national coaches’ poll, but the Wildcats did receive two votes in the latest poll for spot in the top-30.