McDaniel Qualifies for NCAA Championship; Broncos Finish 11th at NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship
MADISON, Wis. – The Western Michigan cross country team finished in 11th place at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships while sophomore Maria McDaniel earned a spot in the NCAA Championships with an eighth place finish individually. Michigan won the race with a team score of 69 while the Broncos finished with 311. Notre Dame (79), Michigan State (88), Wisconsin (138) and Purdue (156) rounded out the top-five teams. WMU missed a top-ten finish by a margin of just three points as Mid-American Conference rivals Eastern Michigan placed sixth and Bowling Green took ninth.
“We ran really well today, being just three points out of the top-ten is a significant step up from last year,” Head Coach Kelly Lycan said. “This shows that we are going in the right direction.”
McDaniel led the Broncos with a time of 20:49.6 while Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel won the race with a time of 20:04.4. Following McDaniel, sophomore Claire Gilbert finished in 63rd with a new personal record time of 21:59.0, freshman Sarah Anderson came in 66th (22:00.0), junior Daya Wagh placed 75th with a new personal record time of 22:05.9 and sophomore Hanne Christensen finished in 99th (22:36.7) to round out the Broncos top-five finishers. Junior Amy Littlefield came in 170th (23:58.0) and freshman McKenzie Evers finished in 178th (24:11.9).
“Maria didn’t really have a good start today but she was able to start going in the middle part of the race to help get a top-ten finish,” Lycan said. “Coach (Rebekah Smeltzer) has done a great job guiding her in her second season and she just continues to keep growing.”
As a team, the 2015 season has come to an end for the Broncos but McDaniel will have a chance to improve on last season’s 54th place finish out of 253 runners. McDaniel is the only member of the Broncos to compete in the NCAA Championships since 1986. She will head to Louisville, Kent. next Saturday on November 21 to run in the NCAA Championships.