SIOUX FALLS, S.D. –All eight of The Summit League cross country teams will represent the league at a pair of NCAA Regional Championships Friday, No. 9, with a berth to the NCAA Championships on the line.
The Summit League will be represented at the Great Lakes Regional in Terre Haute, Ind., and the Midwest Regional in Peoria, Ill. The Great Lakes races start at 11:15 a.m. ET for the women and 12:15 p.m. ET for the men. The Midwest races will start at 11 a.m. CT for the women and noon CT for the men, respectively.
There is a total of 31 teams that qualify for the NCAA Championships set for Nov. 17, in Madison, Wis. In order to receive an automatic bid to the championships, a team needs to finish in the top two, leaving 13 at-large bids left. The selection process for the at-large bids looks at each team's performance throughout the season in addition to its finish at the NCAA Regional.
There are 38 additional runners per gender that can qualify individually for the NCAA Championships. To qualify the runner needs to be one of the top four finishers at each regional not on a qualifying team.
Five Things to Know for NCAA Regional Championships
- Purdue Fort Wayne men's and women's teams are the only Summit League teams competing in the Great Lakes Regional.
- Heading into the regionals on the men's side South Dakota State ranks tenth in the USTFCCCA Midwest Regional rankings. For the women, South Dakota sits sixth in the Midwest, while North Dakota State comes in at 13th.
- South Dakota State's Kyle Burdick and Rachel King earned All-Region in 2017, while King narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Championships. The Jackrabbits look to qualify their fourth NCAA Championship runner in the past four years.
- South Dakota State's Chase Cayo holds the leagues fastest 8K time (24:48.5) which he clocked at the Wisconsin Pre-National Invitational. South Dakota's Eldon Warner, the 2018 Championship Male MVP, holds the second-fastest 8K time (24:52.9), while Cayo's teammate Burdick ran the third-fastest time (24:58.0).
- The 2018 Championship Female MVP Emma Rafuse of Purdue Fort Wayne broke a 12-year old league 6K record at the Summit League Cross Country Championships with a finish of 20:32.92. North Dakota State's Kelby Anderson finished with a time 20:41.46 and holds the leagues second-fastest 6K time this season. Rafuse also holds the third and fourth fastest 6K times with King holding the fifth-fastest (20:55.9) of the season.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 36 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 115,000 at nine institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, Purdue Fort Wayne (Purdue University Fort Wayne), the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced 12 NCAA Champions along with over 100 Academic All-Americans, nearly 125 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.