Finish "Eagle Strong."
That's the motto that catapulted the Ashland University men's cross country team into nationals on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 22) at the Division II Midwest Regional.
AU's five scoring runners improved a total of 27 spots from the 5k mark to the finish of the 10k to earn fourth place and the right to go to the NCAA Division II Championships on Dec. 6 in Louisville, Ky.
The Eagles (116) finished just one point in front of Wisconsin-Parkside (117) for fourth place.
AU's best time was turned in by Nick Hall, who completed the course in 30:47.8 and finished in sixth place. He was in ninth after the first 5,000 meters. Halfway, Brian Baum was sitting in 22nd place, but in the last half of the race, he picked up seven spots and crossed the line in 15th place. His time was 31:09.1.
Isaac Potes claimed a 21st-place finish for the Eagles in a time of 31:26.2. He picked up six spots over the last half of the race. David Knack improved from 30th to 26th and finished in 31:43.2. Rounding out the top five for the Eagles was Will Cutler. He finished off the strong rally by the Eagles, moving up from 55th to 48th in the last 5,000 meters to send AU to nationals.
Grand Valley State won the regional with 43 points. Malone finished in second with 91 points, and Southern Indiana earned third with 101 points. Southern Indiana's Tyler Pence was the top individual, completing the race in 30:24.6 seconds.
On the women's side, the Eagles finished in 11th place with a total of 292 points. Grand Valley State won the regional with a total of 42 points.
AU's top finisher was sophomore Delainey Phelps. She completed the 6k course in 22:16.0 and earned herself a 43rd-place finish. Marissa Sinko crossed the line in 22:25.8 and claimed 52nd place. Kylee Bernthisel finished in 62nd place with a time of 22:44.1. Jillian Bajaksouzian captured 67th place, and Mikaela Bush crossed in 73rd place.
The top time was turned in by Emily Oren of Hillsdale with a time of 20:45.4.