WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW men’s and women’s cross country teams wrap up their seasons on Friday (Nov. 9) when they compete in the 2012 NCAA Southeast Regionals at Charlotte’s McAlpine Creek Park.
The Seahawks are competing in their seventh race of the year and first since placing fourth (men) and sixth (women) at the Colonial Athletic Association Cross Country Championships two weeks ago in Williamsburg, Va.
The Southeast Region is one of nine NCAA Division I regional sites. The other host sites are Madison, Wis. (Great Lakes); University Park, Pa. (Mid-Atlantic); Springfield, Mo. (Midwest); Fort Collins, Colo. (Mountain); Madison, Conn. (Northeast); Tallahassee, Fla. (South); Fayetteville, Ark. (South Central) and Seattle, Wash. (West).
The Southeast Region includes all NCAA Division I universities from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky. The Southeast Regional determines a portion of the NCAA Cross Country Championship field set to take place Saturday, Nov. 17, at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky.
The top two teams and top four individuals not on an advancing team receive an automatic berth to the national meet. Additional teams and individuals are chosen through an at-large selection process.
“We’re simply looking to be competitive with some of the teams that have been around us all season,” said Layne Schwier, UNCW’s assistant cross country/track and field coach. “We would like to end the season by beating a couple teams that have been ahead of us several times this year.”
The 6K women’s race, featuring 41 schools, begins at Noon and UNCW’s travel team includes Kim Black, Dakota Foskey, Katy Haran, Terra Jackson, Haley Kapheim, Rachel Quinn, Alyssa Torres and Ashley Wybersky. Seven of the group will compete on race day.
Quinn, a sophomore from Haddon Heights, N.J., led the Seahawk women in the first three races of the season, while Wyberksy, a junior from Manassas, Va., has been the top runner in the last three outings.
“We have a little sickness and some nagging injuries hampering the women’s team,” said Schwier. “We’re just trying to hold it together to have a good showing.”
The men will cover a 10K course for the first time at 1:15 p.m. A total of 40 schools will be vying for the regional title on the popular course.
Schwier plans to carry Josh Drew, Brian Gottwalt, Ryan O’Connor, Mike Parson, John Riemer, Tommy Schotzinger, Dylan Skinner and Cole Vaughn. Like the women, only seven will compete.
“The challenge for the men will be racing a 10K for the first time,” said Schwier. “It’s a flat course with the exception of one hill toward the end of the race.”
Riemer, a junior from Monkton, Md., has been UNCW’s top runner four times out of six races this fall. O’Connor, a sophomore from Owings, Md., was the lead runner on the other two occasions.