CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte 49ers cross country team is headed to Louisville, KY this weekend for the NCAA Southeast Regional, to be held Saturday, Nov. 12th. The meet will determine the team and individual qualifiers for the 2011 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship in Terre Haute, IN. The men's 10K race will begin at 11 a.m. EST, with the women's 6K following at 12:15 p.m. EST.
"We're excited to get back to Louisville," said head coach Ed Schlichter. "Several of our girls and guys have run the course before, and a lot of our athletes have run their best races out there. We've got a really good opportunity to pass some teams and move up in the rankings on the women's side. On the guys' side, we've got a chance to make a push for the top 15, which has been our goal."
The top two teams to place at each of nine Regionals across the country will automatically advance to the national meet. The national field will then be filled with 13 at-large selections, comprising a total of 31 teams of each gender that will compete in Terre Haute in the NCAA Championship on Nov. 21st.
Additionally, all runners who place in the top 25 at the regional meet earn All-Region recognition and become eligible for advancement to Terre Haute. The national meet will feature 38 individual competitors not on advancing teams. The top four finishers from each regional meet who are not part of a national-qualifying squad will advance, along with two at-large individuals to round out the national field.
The 49ers will look to the experience of senior Amanda Goetschius, who qualified and competed in the NCAA Championship back in 2008, after earning All-Region honors with an eighth place finish at the regional meet. Alongside Goetschius is junior Hana Sutchar, who finished 78th on the Louisville course at last year's Regional, coming in with a 45 second PR.
The men, competing in their first 10K race of the season, will be led by junior Daweet Dagnachew, who took 103rd in last year's Regional. Also competing are seniors Dakota Lowery and Brian McGuire; juniors Eleazar Garcia, Cody Hodgins, and Ross Roberson; and freshman Zach Greth.
"This will be the first time the guys have run the 10K this season, but they've been strong all year so they're excited for the longer distance," Schlichter said.
The Charlotte women are currently ranked ninth in the South East Region, up four spots from #13 in the previous poll. The men have yet to receive a ranking this season.
Following the meet, results will be posted online to the Cross Country page of charlotte49ers.com.