JOPLIN, Mo. — The University of Nebraska at Kearney cross country teams finished sixth (men) and 11th (women) at the NCAA Central Regional meet Saturday morning in Joplin, Mo.
The top three teams, and the top two individuals not on those teams, from reach of Division II’s eight regions advance to the NCAA Championships Nov. 23 in Sacramento. The rest of the national field, consisting of 10 at-large teams and eight at-large individuals, will be announced Monday after going through a selection process. That involves results from Saturday and throughout the fall.
Senior Corbin Hansen and junior Destiny Reinke, and possibly the Loper men’s team, are on the proverbial NCAA bubble after strong showings Saturday and during the entire season. Hansen, a 2018 All-American, was 11th in the men’s race with Reinke ninth on the women’s side. Both were first-team All-MIAA selections after finishing in the top 10 at the league championships two weeks ago on this same course.
The women’s 6k started the day and UNK had its top-three runners finish in the top 31 and all seven entries in the top 171. The field consisted of 219 runners and 34 teams. Reinke ran the course in 21:40.81 while junior Maddie Bach came in 28th (22:20.28) and junior Zoe Ritz close behind in 31st (22:30.21). Mary’s Ida Narvuboll was the winner in a time of 20:08.11.
Seventh-ranked Augustana (41 points), fifth-ranked Mary (50), and Pittsburg State (187) advance to Northern California with the individual qualifiers being East Central’s Anna Mora (4th/21:32.78) and Central Missouri’s Risper Mengich (5th/21:35.76). Reinke was thus five seconds off the final automatic spot.
Rounding on the Loper top five was sophomore Kennedy Krejdl (116th/24:02.66) and freshman Allie Frasher (129th/24:24.85). This marks UNK’s best team finish and lowest point total at regionals in six years.
Like the Loper women, the men came in ranked eighth in the region. All five scorers cracked the top 61 with the next two placing in the top 93 to give UNK a chance at one of those 10 team at-large national selections. The field was made up of 27 squads and 192 runners.
Hansen turned in a 30:52.2 with the winner being Missouri Southern State star Gidieon Kimutai (29:14.5). The runner up was 24 seconds behind him with the automatic spots going to a pair of Sioux Falls Cougars in Mason Phillips (4th/30:13.3) and Steven Brown (5th/30:18.7). Sixth-ranked MSSU (52) came in first place in the team race with No. 11 Northwest Missouri (64) the runner up and No. 7 Augustana (76) third.
Having its 12th consecutive top 10 finish at this meet, UNK’s next scorers were sophomore Luke Stuckey (23rd/31.30.6) and redshirt sophomore Tyler Williams (37th/31.55.1). Junior Nate Pierce was 52nd (32.21.2) and freshman Ben Arens came in 61st (32:27.5).