MEDFORD – For the sixth consecutive season, the Tufts University women's cross country team will compete in the NCAA Championship race after it was announced today that the Jumbos earned an at large berth into the 2018 national championship field.
Head coach Kristen Morwick's Jumbos will be looking to continue a trend of top 10 finishes at Nationals. The Jumbos had the best finish among New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) teams last season when they placed seventh. The finish matched the second-best ever by the Jumbos, who also placed seventh in 2015. The team was eighth in 2016.
Tufts finished fifth at the NCAA Regional Championship hosted by Bowdoin College yesterday to help earn an at-large spot in the 32-team NCAA field. This is the 10th overall NCAA appearance for Tufts. The team's fifth-place race in 2006 is the program's best.
"The team rebounded well this weekend after a tough NESCAC meet and looks forward to dry, fast conditions out in Wisconsin," Coach Morwick said. "Despite continually graduating impact athletes, our team rises to the occasion each year with the goal of competing at the NCAAs. We think our best race of the season is ahead of us this week and the six seniors making the trip are looking to go out with a bang."
The Jumbos will have some experienced runners to draw from. Senior tri-captains Natalie Bettez and Kelsey Tierney have both run at Nationals in 2016 and 2017. Senior Olivia Barnett and junior Lydia Heely competed in NCAA's last fall.
For the Regional, the Jumbo scorers were Bettez in fourth place (21:26.83 over six kilometers), Heely in 16th (22:25.86), Tierney in 34th (22:47.47), freshman Anna Slager in 52nd (23:11.20) and Barnett in 53rd (23:12.32). Also competing for Tufts was senior Julia Noble (54th in 23:13.16) and junior Jennifer Jackson (91st in 23:46.55).
The NCAA Championship finals will be held at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winneconne, Wisconsin, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The women's race will begin at 12:15 p.m. Eastern time.