EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WLUC) – For the first time in Michigan Tech cross country history, the men's and women's teams have qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships. With second-place team finishes at the 2019 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championships, the men's and women's teams will both be headed to the National Championships in Sacramento, California.
"It was an unbelievable day for both teams. It's really something special when you see the hard work pay off for these young people," head coach Jake Isaacson said after the historic performance by the Michigan Tech runners. "I'm just really proud and excited to be part of the process and their journey this season. We're looking forward to a great National Championships in two weeks out in California."
In the women's race, the Huskies finished the 6K race with 146 points, putting them nine points in front of Walsh and 106 points behind Grand Valley State as they automatically qualify for the National Championships for the second consecutive year. Senior Emily Byrd crossed the line in fourth with a time of 21:00.7, earning her the second All-Region finish of her career and giving her the highest finish for a Michigan Tech women's cross country runner in school history.
The Huskies placed four more runners inside the top 40 to punch their ticket to the National Championships. Sophomore Gabrielle Feber placed 30th on the day with a time of 21:50.1, followed by junior Carly Huggins in 33rd (21:56.1), sophomore Sam Kurkowski in 40th (22:09.7), and junior Amanda Kautzer in 41st (22:10.0). Also running strong for the Tech women was senior Sarah Goble with a time of 22:35.0 to finish 61st, and freshman Mady Van Wieren in 87th with a time of 23:01.1.
The men's team scored 116 points on the day, placing them 18 points ahead of hosts Southern Indiana and 64 points behind champion Grand Valley State for a comfortable second-place finish. Junior Braden Reichl, sophomore Clayton Sayen, and senior Matt Pahl all scored All-Region honors for finishing inside the top 25. Reichl finished sixth with a time of 31:39.0, Sayen took 13th in 31:54.5, and Pahl placed 15th in 31:57.8. Reichl's sixth-place finish gives him the distinction of securing the highest finish in a men's Regional Championship race in school history.
Junior Nate Carey finished with a time of 32:50.3 to take 32nd, junior Bobby Beggs earned a finish of 51st in a time of 33:17.9, senior Brendan Klynstra placed 63rd in a time of 33:27.4, and junior Robbie Watling crossed the finish line in 33:40.9 to place 72nd and score valuable points for the Huskies as they secured their first-ever trip to the National Championships in program history.
The Huskies will now begin preparations and training for the 2019 NCAA Division II National Championships on November 23 from the Haggin Oaks Golf Course in Sacramento, California.