W&J Cross Country Duo Headed To National Championships; First Presidents To Ever Earn Invitations
WASHINGTON, Pa. – The participants for the 2011 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships were announced on Sunday afternoon and for the first time in school history, Washington & Jefferson College will be represented at the event. The Presidents will have entries in both races as junior Scott Ryan (Williamsville, N.Y./Williamsville East) earned a spot in the men’s 8,000-meter race and freshman Kristen Galligan (Frederick, Md./Governor Thomas Johnson) will compete in the women’s 6,000-meter race.
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh hosts the NCAA Championships, on Saturday (November 19) at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winneconne, Wisconsin. The women’s race will begin at noon ET followed by the men’s race at 1:00 pm ET.
Thirty-two teams were selected to participate in each championship. The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the eight regions, for a total of 16 teams. Sixteen additional teams were selected at-large.
Fifty-six individuals, the first seven athletes from each region who are not a part of a qualifying team, were selected to participate in each championship. Ryan and Galligan earned at-large bids via this criteria.
“I am so proud of Scott and Kristen,” said first-year W&J Head Coach Shawn Marek. “They have worked so hard and this is a great reward for them. They both have been outstanding all year. It is a big step for our cross country program to have two qualifiers.”
Ryan and Galligan both recorded 13th-place finishes Saturday at the NCAA Mideast Regional in Center Valley, Pa. The Mideast Region is annually one of the nation’s most competitive regions.
A three-time Presidents’ Athletic Conference Runner of the Week this fall, Ryan collected a time of 25:59 in the 8K regional race, just 34 seconds behind the champion. He was the runner-up at the PAC Championships in late October and won races at Waynesburg and Pitt-Greensburg early in the season.
Galligan burst onto the season as one of the Mideast Region’s top freshmen. At the regional meet, she finished fourth among freshmen runners with a 6K time of 23:22 which was 49 seconds behind the medalist.
She was twice selected as the PAC Runner of the Week. Galligan has not finished outside of the top 16 runners at any of her seven races this fall, including one championship (Pitt-Greensburg) and three runner-up showings (Waynesburg, Carnegie Mellon, PAC Championships).
“Scott and Kristen ran great races at the regional on Saturday,” added Marek. “They have been consistently at the top of the standings and they peaked at the right time. They deserve this chance to compete on a national stage.”
A total of 280 runners will compete in both races Saturday. Saint Vincent’s Ivette Mejia is the only other runner from the PAC competing. Mejia edged Galligan for the PAC title last month.