Nov. 17, 2006
LOS ANGELES - For the first time in Loyola Marymount's history, the Lions will be represented at Monday's NCAA Cross Country Championship. Junior Laura Mickelson, the 2006 West Coast Conference Champion, will make an appearance on the national stage Monday in Terre Haute, Ind.
Mickelson earned the individual invitation following her seventh place finish at the NCAA West Regional held last weekend in Portland, Ore. Her 6k regional time was 21:19.59.
Mickelson earned the WCC's only women's NCAA Championship bid. The WCC's men's team champion, Portland, earned a team invitation.
"Our goal all year has been just to get Laura there," LMU Head Coach Scott Guerrero said. "She's living proof that dedication and hard work pay off and I couldn't be happier for her."
Indiana State University will host the 2006 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships November 20 at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind. The women's race will begin at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time, followed by the men's race at 10:15 a.m.
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 nation's top-25 to earn an All-America selection. The El Segundo, Calif. native was already named an all-region selection by the USTFCCCA following her performance at last weekend's NCAA West Regional.
"We really do believe that `All-American' is not an unrealistic goal," Guerrero said, "but no matter what happens, we're just happy to be there."
No stranger to the national stage, Mickelson qualified for the 2006 NCAA Track Championship in the 5000m last June. Her time of 16:43.61 placed her among the nation's top-25 in the event.
At last weekend's NCAA West Regional, Mickelson led the LMU women to finish 14th of 30 teams, equaling the LMU-best mark from a year ago.
During the regular season, Mickelson tallied three titles, winning the Cal State Fullerton Invitational, SDSU Aztec Invitational, and the Cal Poly Invitational. She was selected as the WCC Female Runner of the Month for both September and October. LMU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) selected her as the LMU Female Athlete of the Month for both months as well.