XC: Warriors receive at-large bids to NAIA Nationals

Both Westmont Cross Country teams have received at-large invitations to the NAIA National Championships, which will be held at McAlpine Creek Park in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, November 21. The men’s 8,000 meter race will begin at 10:30 a.m. EDT (7:30 a.m. PDT) with the women’s 5,000 meter race starting one hour later.

The 13th ranked women’s team was awarded the fourth of 12 at-large berths in a field that consists of 36 teams. Twenty-four teams earned a berth through automatic qualification through their respective conferences. 82 individuals from teams that did not qualify also earned a spot in the championship event.

Westmont Women’s Cross Country will be making its 22nd trip as a team to the National Championship, all under head coach Russell Smelley. The Warriors have qualified as a team each of the last four years. In the 2014 championship, which was held in Lawrence, Kansas, the Warriors finished in eighth place.

Westmont Men’s Cross Country will be making its 17th trip to the National Championship as a team and its first since 2011. Smelley has been the head coach for 13 of the previous trips.

The men, who fell out of the rankings that were released on Sunday, qualified as the 12th of 13 at-large teams. Like the women, the field will consist of 36 teams. Eight-five individual have also been awarded a place on the starting line.