For the third time in four years and on back to back years the DBU Lady Patriots have qualified for the NCAA XC Championships! Stetson Rayas will also be joining the ladies as he nabbed an individual automatic qualifying spot; this will be back to back years that Rayas has competed at the NCAA Championships.
This year’s Championships will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday with predicted cold conditions with a slight chance of rain…but nothing like what we experienced in Denver last weekend.
The expectation all season has been that we would be at the NCAA Championships, with our ladies being ranked as high as 9th in the NCAA and Stetson being ranked as high as 9th as an individual on the FloXC rankings. Unfortunately our Regional Championships did not go as we had planned and it was quite the nerve-wracking experience waiting to find out if we made it in.
Thankfully, we made it. And now I believe that we have a great opportunity to not only show that we deserved to make it, but that we are a team that should be in the top-10 and that Stetson is an individual that should be in the top-10.
One of the things that I’ve talked about with my team all season is that we have not had any bad days…except for a day at Regionals that seemed to be out of our control. They’ve shown up, every day, and put in the work that I believe has been good enough for a top-10 team finish for our ladies and a top-10 individual finish for Stetson!
So, who’s racing for the women this week?
Micaela Lamb — this is Lambo’s third trip to the NCAA Championships (2015, 2016, 2018) and she’s played an important part in our season as she was the Conference Runner-Up just under a month ago with a big PR in the 6000 meters. Lambo has had a wonderful return to form after struggling during 2017 with some illness and injury!
Denae Chapman — is a transfer from Texas Tech University, but a young lady that has plenty of CHAMPIONSHIP experience. Denae is the fastest high school 3200 meter runner that we have ever had on our roster (10:52). Denae has stepped up big time when we’ve needed her the most; running as our #3 lady at the Regional Preview and the Regional Championships in Denver, Colorado.
Leah Lewis — is about as consistent as they come. Leah has never not finished within our scoring top-5 as a DBU Lady Patriot and has led the way for us the past two years at the Regional Championships. In 2017, Leah was our top finisher at the NCAA Championships and looks primed to improve dramatically on that finish this year.
Hannah Moore — has led our team more times than anyone else on the roster this year, taking home the win at the opener and being our top finisher at the Chile Pepper Festival. Hannah also finished 5th at the Conference Championships and was our 2nd finisher in 2017 at the NCAA Championships after taking home the Conference Championship.
Danielle Rimann — is running her last XC race this weekend as a DBU Lady Patriot and has been a very big part of these past two championships appearances. Dani was an all-region performer last year and was 3rd overall at the Conference Championships this year with a personal best performance in the 6000 meters.
Martha Brown — is making her NCAA Championships debut for us this weekend after finishing as our fifth scorer two weeks ago at the Regional Championships. Martha has finished in our top-7 at every meet during this freshman season, highlighted with an individual victory at the East Texas Shootout in early October.
Analynne Klotz — is also making her NCAA Championships debut this weekend. Just like Martha, Analynne has been in our top-7 at every meet she has competed in this year and was our fifth scorer at the Conference Championships earlier this month. Her Conference performance garnered her first-team All-Conference honors.
The thing that I’ve said all season is that we have not had our best TEAM performance yet. The Conference Championships were close with Lambo, Dani, Leah, and Hannah all running together for 5000 meters of the 6000 meter race, but we still lacked that true #5 performance that morning. And then, at every other meet we’ve gone to, we’ve had some great performances and some so-so performances…YET, have we put it together on the same exact day. I believe that if we can get five ladies to have that great day on the same day, then there is no question that we can be a top-10 team at the NCAA Championships.
What about Stetson?
Stetson has had a tremendous senior year highlight by a 5th place finish at the Chile Pepper Festival in late September and a top-collegiate finish at the Regional Preview in early October. It was after those two performances that I knew, as long as we carried on without interruption, that Stetson could contend for a top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships…and now, more than ever, I believe that. Stetson is stronger and faster than he’s ever been and he’s got some great credentials on the track with his 14:30 and 29:50 performances from last spring.