Nov. 15, 2007
LOS ANGELES, CA - For the second consecutive year, the Lions will be represented at the NCAA Cross Country Championship by senior Laura Mickelson. Mickelson, the runner-up at the 2007 West Coast Conference Championship on October 27, will make her second consecutive appearance on the national stage Monday in Terre Haute, Ind.
Mickelson earned the individual invitation following her 15th place finish at the NCAA West Regional held last weekend in Eugene, Ore. Her 6k regional time was 20:49.90, a shade faster than her 21:19.59 mark from a year ago to claim seventh place at the same event.
Mickelson earned one of two WCC women's NCAA Championship bids, with the other going to WCC Champion, Dana Morgan of Portland. The WCC's men's team champion, Portland, earned a team invitation.
At last year's NCAA Championship, Mickelson became the first Lion to compete on the NCAA national stage. There, she recovered from an early fall to finish the 6k in 21:38 for 50th place. In addition, Mickelson's time placed her fifth among runners from the West Region.
Indiana State University will host the 2007 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships, November 29, at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center, Terre Haute, Indiana. The men's race will begin at 9:00 a.m. PT followed by the women's race at 9:55 a.m. Both championship races will be broadcast live on CSTV for the first time in the event's history.
"Laura has worked extraordinarily hard to get to this point. This will be her third trip to a National Championship, with the two cross country bids and a track bid her sophomore year." Head Coach Scott Guerrero said. "As if she hasn't accomplished enough, she is also only the eighth Academic All-American in LMU history."
Monday's Terre Haute race-time forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a temperature of around 55 degrees.
Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in each championship. The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams. Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large.
Thirty-eight individuals, the first four athletes from each region who are not a part of a qualifying team and two additional qualifiers, were selected to participate in each championship. All individual qualifiers must have finished in the top 25 in their region.
The field will total 255 runners (217 runners attached to teams and 38 individual competitors).
Mickelson will look to finish among the top-25 Americans, thus claiming an All-American selection. The El Segundo, Calif. native was already named an All-Region selection following her performance at last weekend's NCAA West Regional.
"Laura is well-prepared for this race. She's in the best shape of her life, she is the most confident that she has ever been and she knows this is the last race of her collegiate cross country career. Last year, the final All-American certificate went to 32nd place, and Laura was only eight seconds away from that, even with her stumble early in the race. As a result, she has an excellent chance of earning the accolade, which would be a great capstone to her cross country career." Guerrero said. "Our coaches and the team are extremely proud of Laura's accomplishments this year and in her career, and as long as she competes hard and has a good time, we will be happy with any result on Monday."
At last weekend's NCAA West Regional, Mickelson led the LMU women to a 15th place finish. The men, running a 10k, finished a program-best 16th in the standings, collecting a team score of 507 to finish just nine points behind the 15th place team, Sacramento State.
During the regular season this year, Mickelson won three individual titles at the Malibu Oceanside Open, Asics/UC Irvine Invitational and Santa Clara Bronco Invitational.