Mount Olive, N.C. - The University of Mount Olive cross country season comes to a close this weekend as the NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championship race takes place this Saturday, December 1, in Pittsburgh, Pa., where an individual champion and a team champion will be crowned. Seven runners will represent the men's team and two women's runners will travel to participate in the NCAA DII Winter Festival and compete in the National Championship races.
UMO's men's team will send the seven runners that competed at Regionals to Nationals this weekend. The team finished second at the NCAA DII Southeast Regionals earning them a place at the National Championship for the seventh season in a row. Tai Smith, Jacob Gonzalez, Alexandre Durand, Jereamy Hall, and Jacob Willis will be runners to watch as they have steadily been the top finishers for the Trojans this season.
Leah Hanle and Celine Ritter will represent the women's cross country team as the two ladies finished first and third at the Southeast Regional earning them individual spots at the 2018 National Championship. Hanle, a two-time All-American, set the course record in the women's 6K with a time of 21:53 at Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park back on October 20th when Mount Olive participated in the NCAA National Preview Meet.
Both the men and women's teams had the opportunity to run the course in late October at the NCAA National Preview. As mentioned before Hanle set a course record for the women's 6K as the Trojans finished seventh of the 30 teams participating. Ritter also had a good race as she finished fifth at the National Preview. On the men's side, Mount Olive as a team finished second behind Colorado Mines and beat Queens (N.C.) in a tiebreaker. Smith and Gonzalez finished ninth and tenth respectively at the fall race. Durand and Jereamy Hall rounded out the top-25 as they finished 21st and 24th.
Slippery Rock University is the host of this year's National Cross Country Championship. Fans can find information on the race central page by clicking here.
Live results will be provided by Leone Timing at this link.
FloTrack will be providing live coverage of the two races. Fans will need a subscription to watch at this link.