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EOUís Jodine Steemers and her Mountaineer teammates will make the trip to Fort Vancouver, Wash., Nov. 17 for the NAIA national cross country championships. MADISON STAPLETON photo
KANSAS CITY, Mo — The Eastern Oregon University men’s cross country team had to wait a couple days to find out if they made it to the national championships.
But the wait was worth it, as the Mountaineer men found out on Monday that Saturday’s performance at the Cascade Collegiate Conference cross country championships was enough to barely qualify for the NAIA national cross country championships scheduled to be run at Fort Vancouver, Wash., on Nov. 17.
“It was a hard two days,” remarked Eastern Oregon head cross country coach Ben Welch told EOUsports.com.
“We didn’t run as well as we could have last Saturday and put ourselves into this position.”
For all the stress that the men’s squad caused Welch, the women’s team just needed confirmation. The women placed second at the conference meet last weekend, pretty much assuring them the trip to Fort Vancouver.
“We felt pretty good after the way the ladies performed Saturday,” said Welch. “We just wanted to see it confirmed.”
The men will be making the fourth straight trip to the national meet and 18th since Welch took over the program.
The women return to the national meet for the first time since 2007.
This year marks the 11th time EOU has sent both a women’s and men’s squad to the national meet in the same year.
EOU senior Karlee Coffey returns to the meet after finishing third last year and runner-up two years ago.
She will be among the favorites in the women’s race.