Six Missourians set for 2011 NCAA DI Cross Country Nationals

Six Missourians are set for 2011 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships 
at Terre Haute Indiana’s LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.

Redshirt junior Eric Fernandez makes his third appearance for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Although this is the first time in many years the Hogs didn’t qualify as a team. The 15th ranked Hogs finished 3rd at regionals but didn’t receive an at-large berth. Fernandez was runner-up at the South Central Regional and will look to earn his first All-American honor. Freshman Jessica Jackson will look to help the Lady Razorbacks seek a top 10 finish. The Ladybacks are ranked 14th going into the meet and Jackson won the conference rookie of the week honor atleast three times this season.

Tulsa’s Sam Masters steps in for teammate Danny Thater for Tulsa Monday. The Hickman grad sat out regionals  but is scheduled to run the 10k championship race today in place of Thater who ran at regionals. Tulsa is ranked 21st. Northern Arizona freshman Caleb Hoover will look to help the 13th ranked Lumberjacks to a top 10 finish. Hoover joins a small list of Missouri men to run at the DI National Meet as a freshman.

UMKC’s Cosmas Ayabei will experience his first national meet and be in search of a top 40 finish for All-American honors. The Kenyan native earned an automatic bid last week with his 7th place finish at regionals.

Florida State freshman Collen Quigley is looking to help the Seminoles to their first National Title. After runner-up finishes the last two years, the Noles have reloaded and are ranked #1 but should face a fierce battle with two-time defending champ Villanova, Georgetown, Washington, and Oregon.

Sadly Emily Sisson won’t be making an appearance in Terre Haute. The Providence sophomore who transferred from Wisconsin is on a loaded Friars team that was ranked in the top 5 most of the season. Injuries and illness cost Providence a chance at a national title though. Sisson was kept out of Regionals while recovering from illness and the Friars didn’t cruise to a qualifying spot like expected. Another of their top runners who also was an All-American last year had a tough race before getting word this week she’s got a stress fracture.

It’s always an exciting day at Nationals, a lot of action and a lot on the line in just an hour and a half.

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