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Spartans place 18th at cross country NCAA championships

Ben Yavitt

Issue date: 12/3/10 Section: Sports
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After another dominating season, the Case Western Reserve University women's Cross Country team returned from the NCAA DIII National Championships with some bragging rights. On Nov. 20, the Spartans placed 18th out of the 32-team field. Senior Justine Jeroski placed 11th overall, and in the process became a three-time All-American. Jeroski's finish is the top in school history at the NCAA Championship.

After a convincing performance at the Great Lakes Regional Championships on Nov. 13, the Spartans were able to secure a spot in the national meet, hosted by Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. The Spartans placed third at the regional championships, behind Calvin College and the host Hope College. The top two teams from the regional championships receive automatic bids to the national meet. The next three teams to finish become eligible to receive at-large bids to the meet. The NCAA selects these teams the next day to fill up the national's field. Catching the eye of the NCAA, the Spartans' powerful performance earned the squad an at-large bid.

"We hoped for nationals, and once we got there, we wanted to run our best and place as high as we could," said Jeroski.

Going into the national meet, the Spartans were ranked 23rd in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national poll. Full of excitement and anticipation, the ladies boarded the plane headed for Minneapolis, Minnesota on Thursday morning. Waverly, Iowa did not have a large enough airport to fly into. The Spartans took an extra travel day to fly to Minneapolis and drive to Iowa in a van.

"We were all very excited for the race and the banquet being held on Friday," sophomore Corey Bowen said.

The race on Saturday started out fast, almost too fast. In the first 400 meters, a runner from the University of Chicago fell down. The officials called back the racers to restart the race. Apparently the adrenaline rush didn't throw off the Spartans. After the second restart, the Spartans got out strong and stuck as a pack. In the field of 279 women, it was difficult to pick out the silver singlets and black long sleeve shirts worn by the Spartans.
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