Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney cross country teams finished seventh (men) and 15th (women) at the 2018 NCAA Central Regional Saturday afternoon in Jolpin, Mo.
The top three teams, and the top two individuals not from one of those three squads, advance to the NCAA Championships on Saturday, December 1 in Pittsburgh, Pa. The rest of the NCAA field will be announced on Monday with the selection criteria considering the entire season.
Coming in ranked sixth in the Central, the Loper men tallied 212 points to just trail Fort Hays State (209) and Southwest Baptist (207). Nationally-ranked Missouri Southern State (55), Augustana (73) and Sioux Falls (186) took the top three spots. There were 28 teams overall.
DeWeese senior Corbin Hansen ran the 10k course in 30:32.9 to place seventh in a field of 189. If UNK doesn’t make it to Pittsburgh, Hansen has a good shot of snagging one of the individual at-large bids. MSSU freshman Gidieon Kimutai was the region champ in a time of 29:48.5. The host Lions had three of the top four finishers.
Besides Hansen for UNK, Lincoln sophomore Nate Pierce came in 36th (31:32.4), Kearney redshirt freshman Matt Thurston was 46th (31:53.8), Scottbluff junior Shane Burkey scored 59 team points (32:15.7) with Juniata true freshman Justin Vrooman five spots back to tally 64 points (32:19.7).
On the women’s side the Lopers scored 404 points to be 15th out of 35. Fourth-ranked Mary (29) easily repeated as champ with No. 8 Augie (64) and No. 11 Pittsburg State (122) also headed to Pittsburgh.
Imperial sophomore Destiny Reinke capped a strong second half of the season by running the 6k course in 22:31.0 to finish 34th out of 237 runners. Mary had three of the top four finishers with Jaiden Schuette (20:52.5) the winner.
The other scorers for UNK were Kearney junior Lacie Lindner (67th/23:09.1), Comstock sophomore Zoe Ritz (74th/23:17.4), Merna junior Elizabeth Cramer (85th/23:32.8) and Aurora true freshman Kennedy Krejdl (144th/24:43.4)